Sakura: Short and Sweet

The cherry blossoms have almost all disappeared now. I feel like it was over before it even started! I guess that’s part of their charm – their beauty is fleeting. Seeing the petals fall off the trees and get swept away by the wind is always sad. Most years, the sun does a good job of bringing a much welcomed warmth to push out winter, but this year, the cold has persisted and the chilly nights are still lingering. The weather has been up and down, teasing us for weeks with a few warm days. I’ve only recently stopped using my heater. Hopefully I can put it away for good. Dammit, I’m ready for summer! … I might regret saying that come August.

Going snowboarding at the start of April meant missing the peak of the sakura in Tokyo. I had an awesome time in Hokkaido, so I don’t regret it at all, but it just shortened the already short time we have to see the flowers! To give you more of an idea on just how brief their life is… The season officially started on March 25. This is when the buds first started to open up. The peak was predicted to be April 5, but the forecasters can never be 100% accurate, and in the end, full bloom was declared on March 30. By April 8, about 50% of the petals had fallen, and by April 10 it was basically all over in Tokyo.

There are actually hundreds of varieties of sakura trees. Some bloom earlier, while others bloom well after the main varieties have long gone. Even though it’s already coming to the end of April, there are still one or two late blooming varieties that can be spotted here and there. The varieties differ not only by blooming time, but also colour, number of petals, shape of the petals and shape of the tree. And of course, depending on where in the country they are, they bloom either in March (southern Japan), April (central Japan) or May (northern Japan).

March 16 @ Setagaya

Setagaya blossoms
Kawazu-zakura: early spring bloomer

March 29 @ Naka-Meguro

April 5 @ Setagaya

Sakura-lined entrance
Sakura-lined entrance

April 6 @ Akiruno & Fussa, Western Tokyo

April 8 @ Meguro

April 10 @ Showa Memorial Park, Tachikawa

April 10 @ Koganei Park

April 12 @ Lake Sagami, Kanagawa

April 16 @ Setagaya