Cherry blossoms may bloom early in Japan due to mild winter

Courtney Spamer

The weather pattern has lent itself to a mild winter across much of Japan, where many cherry blossom trees bloom each spring. This year, however, tourists may need to revise their visiting plans to see the trees earlier than usual.

Temperatures are running above normal this winter, which may lead to the cherry blossoms blooming earlier than usual. Tokyo dipped below the freezing mark only once this winter, on Feb. 7, which typically occurs at least a few times each winter.

Overall, temperatures since the start of 2020 are running about 3 degrees Celsius (5.5 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal.

"Combined with increasing sunshine, temperatures running this far ahead of normal is enough to cause an early bloom," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk.

"Through the first week of March, the pattern does not appear to favor any big waves of cold. In fact, Tokyo may experience temperatures near 15 C (59 F) for the first few days of the month," said Houk.

These conditions are more typical of late-March or early April in Tokyo, when the cherry blossoms are typically in bloom.

Cherry blossom flowers are reflected on a pond at Shinjuku Gyoen national garden in Tokyo, Monday, March 26, 2018. Cherry blossom flowers are at full bloom in Tokyo, Japan, as it warms up for the spring season.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

The flowering trees have bloomed early in recent years, including in 2018 when the cherry blossoms bloomed a couple of weeks early.

There is concern in other locations around the globe that cherry blossoms may be blooming earlier than usual, due to milder conditions. This includes in the United States' capital of Washington, D.C.

Across parts of China, concerns around the coronavirus have caused some gardens often visited to view the cherry blossoms to close. The renowned Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden closed on Jan. 24, according to Republic, an India-based TV news network.

In order for the public to still view the blooms, officials set up an online tour for interested tourists. On a normal year, nearly 100,000 people visit the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden during the bloom of the cherry blossoms.

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