Tokyo cherry blossoms
Photo: Beibaoke/ShutterstockA 2021 photograph of the Somei Yoshino sample tree at Yasukuni Shrine

The 2023 cherry blossom season has officially begun in Tokyo

This year’s sakura blooms tie a record for the city’s earliest cherry blossom season

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

This is it: the 2023 cherry blossom season has arrived in Tokyo, tying the 2020 and 2021 records for the earliest blooming season. Tokyo's cherry blossom forecast relies on the blooming schedule of the Somei Yoshino cherry trees, the most prevalent variety among hundreds of sakura species. The Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda houses the city’s official sample tree, which acts as a gauge not only for the forecast but also for the official onset of the sakura season. 

On March 14, the esteemed tree had 11 blossoms, prompting officials to announce the commencement of the cherry blossom season for 2023. This year's announcement arrived 10 days earlier than the usual time frame.

Nakameguro Sakura
Photo: Torsakarin/DreamstimeMeguro River Sakura Festival

The early blooming time isn't the only exciting thing about this year's cherry blossoms season. 2023 marks the first time in four years that Tokyo parks are allowing hanami picnics, as the government moves to further ease its Covid-19 safety guidelines. This year will also see the return of big cherry blossom events like the Meguro River Sakura Festival, which was cancelled the last three years. 

Tokyo’s cherry blossoms are forecasted to peak around March 22, which is when Kyoto and Osaka are expecting to see their first few cherry blossoms of the year. See our guide on the best cherry blossom spots around Japan for predicted flowering dates in other prefectures. 

Photo: Navapon Plodprong/Dreamstime | Sakura at Chidorigafuchi Moat
Photo: Navapon Plodprong/Dreamstime | Sakura at Chidorigafuchi Moat

If you’re raring to get the best views of cherry blossoms in Tokyo, we’ve got a handy list of the top sakura spots in the city. Also, here’s a list of cherry blossom festivals and events in Tokyo that you should not miss. 

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