Japan's cherry blossom season is expected to arrive earlier than usual, according to a forecast by Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC).
The weather data provider last Thursday (Jan 10) released its prediction of when the nation's iconic trees would begin blooming and reach full bloom.
Also known as sakura in Japanese, cherry blossoms are expected to start flowering on Mar 22 in Tokyo, four days earlier than average, and reach full bloom a week after.
Last year, cherry blossoms started flowering in Tokyo on Mar 17, nine days before the average bloom date.
This year, the region around Nagoya can expect its cherry blossoms to bloom early as well, on Mar 22, while Fukuoka and Kochi might see them flower on Mar 18 and Mar 20 respectively.
The sakura trees in Kyoto are forecast to bloom on Mar 25, three days earlier than average.
In the cooler areas further north, the flowers are expected to bloom at around the usual time: Aomori can expect the flowers to bloom on Apr 24, and Hokkaido capital Sapporo will likely see the first blooms on May 4.
According to the forecast, the flowering and full bloom dates depend on the temperature patterns from the previous year's autumn.
"JMC estimates the flowering and full bloom dates for each area based on low temperatures during autumn and winter, cherry tree growth status, cumulative temperatures, and past data for each area," it added.
The company's forecast covers approximately 1,000 cherry blossom viewing locations from the northern region of Hokkaido to the south in Kagoshima.