But in 2021, the famous white and pink cherry trees fully blossomed on March 26, the earliest date in 12 centuries, according to records from Osaka Prefecture University (although there are no records every year).
Early flowering indicates climate change, says Yasuyuki Aono, professor of environmental science at the university responsible for compiling a complete database of flowering records over the centuries.
Records begin in the year 812 and include court documents from Imperial Kyoto, Japan’s former capital, as well as medieval diaries. According to Aono, the earlier blooms so far, which occurred on March 27, were in the years 1612, 1409 and 1236.
Cyclist uses selfie stick to film cherry blossom on March 29 in Tokyo. The cherry tree, called ‘sakura’, is Japan’s favorite flower – Photo: Kiichiro Sato / AP
Japanese people take advantage of the flowering to take to the streets and take selfies on the Meguro River, in Tokyo, on March 28 – Photo: Kiichiro Sato / AP
Japanese people often take advantage of the cherry blossom “peak” to stroll through the parks, have picnics under the branches and abuse selfies. But this year, the cherry blossom came and went in the blink of an eye.
The phenomenon usually occurs in April, when the country celebrates the beginning of its new academic and commercial year.. “As temperatures rise, flowering starts earlier,” Aono told Reuters news agency.
Global temperatures in 2020 were among the highest on record and rivaled 2016 as the hottest year ever, according to data compiled by the World Meteorological Organization released in January.
People cross the street amid the cherry blossom, Japan’s favorite flower in Tokyo – Photo: Kiichiro Sato / AP
Woman with protective mask raises her pet dog to take a photo under the cherry blossoms on March 26 in Tokyo – Photo: Eugene Hoshiko / AP
The Japan Meteorological Agency monitors 58 “reference” cherry trees across the country. This year, 40 have already reached the peak of flowering and 14 have done so in record time.
“We can say that it is more likely because of the impact of global warming,” said Shunji Anbe, an official in the agency’s observation division.
Woman with mask to protect herself from the spread of coronavirus takes photo of cherry blossoms in Tokyo on March 30 – Photo: Koji Sasahara / AP
Person takes picture of cherry blossoms on March 26 in Tokyo. Experts point out that the phenomenon occurred earlier in Japan in 2021 due to climate change – Photo: Eugene Hoshiko / AP
The trees usually bloom for about two weeks each year, from the first bud to the fall of all flowers.
Cherry blossoms have long historical and cultural roots in Japan, heralding spring and inspiring artists and poets over the centuries. Its fragility is seen as a symbol of life, death and rebirth.
In modern times, people gather under the cherry blossoms each spring for hanami (flower watching) parties usually fueled by sake.
With the end of the state of emergency to contain infections by the new coronavirus in all areas of Japan, many people flocked to popular viewing venues over the weekend, although the number was less than in normal years.
See report by Jornal Hoje 2017 about cherry blossom:
Cherry blossom marks the arrival of spring in Japan
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