2018 cherry blossom forecast for Japan

Cherry blossom Japan

The Japanese cherry blossom, or sakura, has long been adored by people across the globe. It is regarded as a symbol of renewal, vitality, and beauty. During the spring season of each year, thousands travel to Japan to view the wondrous spectacle of these white or pink flowers blooming en masse.

Update: The latest forecast has been released (March 22)! Blooming dates are slightly ahead this year. Please check again for updates on the 2018 forecast in many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Japanese families also eagerly await this time. Many attend cherry blossom festivals or simply enjoy hanami, the tradition of viewing and enjoying the beauty of the cherry blossom. Many people indulge in picnics beneath the blooming cherry trees.

If you are planning a trip to see Japan’s famous cherry blossoms in 2018, there are two things to consider – where and when to visit. There are many prime locations with a variety of features – some have the oldest trees, others the most trees, and some are close to historic areas or other sites of interest. You can quickly and easily travel between many locations by train using your Japan Rail Pass.

Once you’ve decided on which of the best cherry blossom spots in Japan (or just in Tokyo) you will visit for Hanami, you will want to time your stay so that you will get the most from your cherry blossom experience. Why? Because not every location experiences full bloom at the same time.

Japan Cherry Blossom Season 2018

When does the Cherry Blossom season start in Japan?

The sakura average blooming time can vary widely based on the geographical location within the country. Areas with milder winter climates produce earlier bloom times. Blooms usually open first in the southern region, and blooming progresses northward. Okinawa, for example, almost always produces the first blooms. Wind, rain, and temperature can cause the blossoms to appear either earlier or later than average and can lengthen or shorten the blooming season.

Throughout most of Japan, looming typically occurs in late March and early April. Some areas may produce blooms as early as January. The emergence of the first blossoms is called kaika – this emergence of flowers in usually what is indicated by the bloom forecasts. The peak, or mankai – the time when the most trees are in full bloom – occurs within about one week of emergence. In some years, the season extends into the month of May in the northern regions.

Cherry Blossom 2018 forecast by region

The estimated viewing dates are based on data collected in previous years, especially latest years 2016 and 2017, by the Japan Weather Association.

The 2018 sakura season is expected to be a little earlier both in central and southern Japan.

The best times to visit (full bloom) are expected to be this weekend (March 24) in Tokyo, and next week in Osaka (March 7), Hiroshima and Kyoto (March 27). Check again soon for updated information on your region of interest.

Please keep in mind that most flowers usually take a week to reach full bloom once flowering has begun and that full bloom also lasts around a week.

Japan cherry blossom forecast for 2018
Latest cherry blossom forecast for 2018. Source: Japan Meteorological Corporation.
PrefectureLocationFlowering dateFull bloom date
Hokkaido Region
HokkaidoMuroranMay 2May 7
HokkaidoHakodateApril 25April 29
HokkaidoSapporoApril 29May 3
Tohoku Region
AomoriAomoriApril 17April 22
IwateMoriokaApril 13April 19
MiyagiSendaiApril 2April 7
AkitaAkitaApril 14April 18
YamagataYamagataApril 10April 14
FukushimaFukushimaApril 2April 6
Kanto-Koushin Region
IbarakiMitoMarch 23March 30
TochigiUtsunomiyaMarch 24March 30
GunmaMaebashiMarch 23March 29
SaitamaKumagayaMarch 22March 28
ChibaChoshiMarch 20March 28
TokyoTokyoMarch 17March 24
KanagawaYokohamaMarch 19March 26
YamanashiKofuMarch 23March 28
NaganoNaganoApril 4April 10
Hokuriku Region
NiigataNiigataApril 5April 10
ToyamaToyamaMarch 29April 4
IshikawaKanazawaMarch 29April 4
FukuiFukuiMarch 30April 4
Tokai Region
GifuGifuMarch 19March 27
ShizuokaShizuokaMarch 18March 27
AichiNagoyaMarch 18March 28
MieTsuMarch 23March 27
Kinki Region
ShigaHikoneMarch 26April 2
KyotoKyotoMarch 22March 29
OsakaOsakaMarch 20March 27
HyogoKobeMarch 23March 30
NaraNaraMarch 23March 28
WakayamaWakayamaMarch 20March 27
Chugoku Region
TottoriTottoriMarch 24March 30
ShimaneMatsueMarch 26April 1
OkayamaOkayamaMarch 23March 30
HiroshimaHiroshimaMarch 22March 29
YamaguchiShimonosekiMarch 23March 31
Shikoku Region
TokushimaTokushimaMarch 24March 30
KagawaTakamatsuMarch 22March 30
EhimeMatsuyamaMarch 19March 29
KochiKochiMarch 15March 19
Kyushu Region
FukuokaFukuokaMarch 19March 26
SagaSagaMarch 20March 29
NagasakiNagasakiMarch 17March 28
KumamotoKumamotoMarch 17March 28
OitaOitaMarch 23March 31
MiyazakiMiyazakiMarch 16March 28
KagoshimaKagoshimaMarch 17March 28

Japan regions and prefectures

A Japanese hanami is an experience of a lifetime, especially if you must travel from afar! Don’t forget to check out our sakura travel tips when you plan ahead to visit the prime cherry blossom locations in Tokyo and all of Japan during their peak blooming season: you are sure to have a trip to remember with your Japan Rail Pass.

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28 thoughts on “2018 cherry blossom forecast for Japan”

  1. Hello, I land in Tokyo March 30th and will be staying with a friend. I do have a rail pass. Would you recommend trying to catch the end of full bloom in Tokyo or taking a trip to Kyoto, since it blooms a bit later?

    1. Hi Deanna,

      Although cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo usually peaks between March 27 and April 6, this year it has started earlier. Since the best times to visit (full bloom) in Kyoto is expected to be around March 28-29, should you want to visit a city at its expected best it might be adviceable to go there. However these numbers are just estimations and could still vary. We recommend you to check again for updates on the 2018 forecast!

      Happy travels!

  2. Hi! Thank you for this post!
    I have a question. After the full bloom, there will still be some flowers right? Because I arrive in Osaka April 1st, it says the Full Bloom is March 30… Hopefully I’ll see some sakura, right?
    Tokyo apparently I won’t be able to see any, because I arrive only April 10th.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Gabriela!

      The expected flowering date for Kyoto is March 20th, and the full bloom is expected to be slightly ahead than it usually is: March 29th. Of course, after the full bloom date you will still be able to see flowers. However we strongly recommend you to check the forecast for further updates.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  3. Hello, I have planned a trip to Osaka from the 7th of April would the flower still be in bloom or already beginning to drop?

    1. Hi Sera!

      The best times to visit (full bloom) are expected to be around March 28 in Osaka but please check again for updates on the forecast – it is constantly changing!

      We hope you enjoy Japan!

  4. Hey we are reaching tokyo by 1st april kyoto by 7th april and osaka by 13th april…is there a chance we would be able to see the full bloom or do u recommend to shift the itinerary a week early?

    1. Hi Priyanka!

      When it comes to cherry blossom it is difficult make exact predictions. The ones you see in this article are based on Japan Meteorological Corporation and are updated on a weekly basis; however it is not possible to know in advance which will be the exact date of full bloom.

      According to last trends, the best times to visit (full bloom) are expected to be around April 1st in Osaka and April 2nd in Kyoto.

      We hope you get to enjoy Japan at its full bloom!

  5. Hello I have question – you mentioned that the full bloom would last around a week. So based from Feb 22nd forecast, Tokyo’s full bloom begins March 26 and one week would be till April 1st. In general, would the flowers still look as great and beautiful 2-3 days after the full bloom? Or would the wind/rain wash them away after that?

    I`m arriving in Tokyo on April 2nd and it would be great if we could still catch the full bloom rather than what’s left of it.

    Thanks so much for updating us with forecasts! hopefully forecast date would move a little later.

    1. Hi light!

      The cherry blossom forecast is just that – a prediction on what will happen based on meteorological available data. However it may not fully reflect reality and it might as well change with time. We recommend you to stick to our article to be aware of the latest updates! To make sure you don’t miss a word we recommend you to also follow our related articles:

      Cherry blossoms in Tokyo: Best spots and 2018 forecast
      Best cherry blossom festivals and viewing spots in Japan
      Cherry blossom travel: tips for the 2018 season

      We hope you get to see Japan at its full bloom!

    2. Yes, 2-3 days after full bloom should be good. Beyond, it depends. If it is windy and rainy, the flowers may fall pretty quickly.

      But be prepared to some uncertainties in the predictions. Last year forecasts suggested early bloom, but a cold just before flowering delayed things by several days!

  6. Hi!
    I’m travelling to Japan from March 22 to April 13…
    About Sakura in TOKYO I feel puzzled…
    Why Sakura in this city occur so early and does not follow a South-West >> North-East axis after KYUSHU and KANSAI…?
    I think that last year Sakura in KANSAI and TOKYO occured about the same period.

    Thanks for updating us 😉

    1. Hi Kamel!

      The information is weekly updated with information from the Japan Meteorological Corporation. Please note dates may slightly change when there is more information available. According to the last estimations, the flowering date expected for Tokyo is March 20th and the full bloom date, March 28th. We recommend you to check our article on a weekly basis so as not to miss any interesting update. We would also like to recommend you our article Cherry blossoms in Tokyo: Best spots and 2018 forecast. We are sure it will be of big interest for your trip!

      Happy travels!

  7. The forecast date for Hakodate as shown March 30 and April 4- I suspect should be Apr 30 and May 4 , since it is in the North should be closer to Sapporo. Please clarify , thank you

  8. Hello. I was just curious about how accurate the first forecast usually is. I land in Tokyo on March 30th and I’m hoping I’m not too late to see sakura. If it does hit full bloom by March 26th, will I still have much to see by the time I get in?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi April!

      The full bloom lasts for approximately one week so you should be able to see it at least in some of the Tokyo parks. Please keep in mind that this is just the first forecast from the Japan Meteorological Corporation, so make sure to check again before your trip.

      Have a nice trip!

  9. Hi,
    I read that Cherry blossom in Hokkaido is early May but your dates for Hakkodate is early April.
    Can you please confirm?
    I am planning a trip to Hokkaido from 8th May after the golden week and hopefully can see some cherry blossom in Hakkodate.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kimmie!

      Please note that this is a forecast based on Japan Meteorological Corporation and thus reality may not end up being as described in advance. With the available information, full bloom at Hakodate is expected to be around 4th April, however the expected flowering date is late March. We recommend you to come back since this article is constantly being updated with latest available trends.

      Have a nice trip!

  10. Today i book Fly to Tokyo for 22th March to 30th . I hope this forecast will not change , otherwise i should change fly .

    1. Hi there,

      Before you board your international flight, there are a few things you should know, such as the cultural significance of the cherry blossom, when and where to see them, and how to capture the best cherry blossom photographs. For that reason, please check our article “Cherry blossom travel: tips for the 2018 season

      Hope it helps!

      Kind regards

  11. Wow! Hokkaido is a vast space, yet it is one prefecture of 47 within Japan. In a few months, I will be visiting Hokkaido, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Regrettably, I’ll be missing cherry blossom season this time around. But, I’m looking forward to visiting again and enjoying it next time!

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