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The art and science of Japan's cherry blossom forecasting

17 Comments
By Natsuko Fukue

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Do any other countries have cherry blossoms?

Yes of course! Some nice locations:

Vancouver, British Columbia in the Queen Elizabeth Park.

Macon, Georgia.

Bonn, Germany, Alstadt Cherry Festival.

Jerte Valley, Spain.

St. Louis, Missouri near the Gateway Arch.

Sceaux, Hauts-de-Seine, France. Paris has also its fair share of cherry trees.

Vilnius, Lithuania.

Jinhae, Changwon, South Korea, Jinhae Gunhangje festival.

London England, Kew Gardens.

Brooklyn, New-York, Botanic Garden.

Edinburgh, Scotland, The Meadows park.

Curitiba, Brazil, Botanical Garden.

Seattle Washington, University of Washington,

Shanghai, China, Shanghai Campus festival.

Teipei, Taiwan, Yangmingshan National Park.

San Francisco, California, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival.

Stockholm, Sweden, The King's Garden.

Boston, Massachusetts, Charles River Esplanade.

Washington, D.C., National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Etc, etc....

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Chip Star - USA has them because gifted from Japan many many years ago.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

THIS is what it's really all about:

*And in that period and the preceding weeks, shops will pack their shelves with sakura themed merchandise. Pink and white blossoms seem to decorate everything from beer cans to sakura-flavored chips and flower-themed candy.** The season is traditionally celebrated with hanami, or viewing parties, in cherry blossom hotspots, with picnics organized beneath the trees.*

Cherry blossoms are beautiful, but over-hyped/marketed heavily; they probably sell well, because the tree thrives all over Japan. I do enjoy the temperate weather, and beer, though.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Will G - they are "Ornamental Cherries" ie non-fruiting varieties.

The fruiting varieties are called Sakuranbo and are quite common, but nothing like the extensive plantings of Sakura.

While Sakura in full blossom is very nice, the real spring event I wait for, is the new, fresh vivid green that carpets the once dull dreary monotones of a deciduous winter.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't' get me wrong, I think they are beautiful and I understand the cultural implications, but me thinks it's much ado about nothing.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I remember well when JMA stopped forecasting as private agencies (in the article) were more on top of it through hteir extensive data collecting system. At first they resisted because they were The Authorative Agency.

And in my neck o the woods, only recently local NHK has stopped (I think) officially announcing the start of the cherry season based on when an historical tree comes into blossom.

It got to the point over the last decade or so, where many citizens were already flocking to see the first blossoms at many sites - ahh the connectivity of the internet - but NHK hadn't announced, it so it was still "Not Sakura Season".

Many quietly chuckled over that for a long time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And in the fullness of time, after the blossoms and bees, presumably you get the fruit, cherries galore one would assume, so are there not many many products made of the cherries filling the shelves and exported around the World ?

Different type of cherry tree altogether produces cherries. These don't.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Do any other countries have cherry blossoms?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Cherry blossoms are beautiful, but over-hyped/marketed heavily

They are latched onto by marketers, but sakura have a longer history than that too.

Any amateur student of Zen can tell you the sakura symbolizes the impermanence or fleeting nature of beauty and life.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's a shame the flowers bloom so short and are so weak. One rain shower and everything is gone. But I love hanami and everything around it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

but me thinks it's much ado about nothing.

I can understand it may add a bit of color and brighten up the dreary landscape of city dwellers, but when you live in the country and have trees all around you all the time its just another day in the season of things.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do any other countries have cherry blossoms? yes they do, and in the UK we have them as well, but not in the abundance like they have in Japan, we have one or two here and there mainly in peoples back gardens or one on the front, which does not have the visual impact unlike Japan. I am sure there is a small group in the local park as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And in the fullness of time, after the blossoms and bees, presumably you get the fruit, cherries galore one would assume, so are there not many many products made of the cherries filling the shelves and exported around the World ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

in the fullness of time, after the blossoms and bees, presumably you get the fruit, cherries galore one would assume

One would assume, wouldn't one? Apparently though (I've been told) the cherry trees that produce the prettiest blossoms don't actually produce very much fruit, or very tasty fruit. Hence the lack of cherries filling the shelves, and the high price of the few little jewels that do make it to the shops.

Sakura-based foods tend to make use of the petals and leaves (eg sakura-mochi), not the fruit.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Don't they just use growing degree days or corn heat units to forecast the blossoms? Really easy to pull CHU off of all the weather stations and have a computer auto-update the forecast throughout the day.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Look out the window, don’t watch NHK weather news. My plum tree is in 30 % blossom today.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The art and science of Japan's cherry blossom forecasting

Right, now please explain why so many places throughout Japan had a burst of cherry blossoms opening last year at the end of October and early November?

Guess your "AI" needs more intelligence!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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