2018 cherry blossom forecast for Japan

Cherry blossom Japan
Posted on Categories Travel Guides

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.

Note: Please check back 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 you will visit, 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.

Cherry blossom railroad

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 the same as normal in the central Japan and slightly later than usual in Shikoku and Kyushu (southern Japan).

The best times to visit (full bloom) werearound April 2nd in Tokyo, April 6th in Hiroshima, and April 7th in Kyoto and Osaka. Check again soon for updated information on your region of interest.

Also, please keep in mind that most flowers usually take a week to reach full bloom once blooming has started.


Sakura - Cherry blossom forecast 2017
Latest cherry blossom forecast for 2017. Source: Japan Meteorological Corporation.


Estimated best viewing dates: April 1 to April 7.
Blooming start: March 25.

Fuji Five Lakes

Estimated best viewing dates: March 31 to April 6.
Blooming start: March 25.


Estimated best viewing dates: April 8 to April 14.
Blooming start: April 6.

Hakodate (Hokkaido)

Estimated best viewing dates: April 29 to May 4
Blooming start: April 27


Estimated best viewing dates: April 4 to April 10
Blooming start: March 27.


Estimated best viewing dates: April 8 to April 14
Blooming start: April 5


Estimated best viewing dates: April 7 to April 13
Blooming start: April 1


Estimated best viewing dates: March 29 to April 5
Blooming start: March 24


Estimated best viewing dates: April 5 to April 11
Blooming start: March 31

Matsuyama (Ehime)

Estimated best viewing datess: April 1 to April 7
Blooming start: March 24


Estimated best viewing dates: April 10 to April 16
Blooming start: April 8


Estimated best viewing dates: April 8 to April 14
Blooming start: April 5


Estimated best viewing dates: April 6 to April 12
Blooming start: April 3


Estimated best viewing dates: April 5 to April 11
Blooming start: April 1st


Estimated best viewing dates: May 2 to May 8
Blooming start: May 1


Estimated best viewing dates: April 7 to April 13
Blooming start: April 7


Estimated best viewing dates: March 29 to April 4
Blooming start prediction: March 21


Estimated best viewing dates: April 3 to April 9
Blooming start prediction: March 25

Japan regions and prefectures

A Japanese hanami is an experience of a lifetime, especially if you must travel from afar. Check out our sakura travel tips when you plan ahead to visit prime cherry blossom locations during their peak blooming season: you are sure to have a trip to remember with your Japan Rail Pass.

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6 thoughts on “2018 cherry blossom forecast for Japan”

  1. 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!

    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

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