If you’ve ever glimpsed those delicate white or pink buds bloom to reveal the cherry blossom or sakura, you’ll know that it’s the traditional sign that it’s springtime in Japan. And according to data, cherry blossoms have peaked at the earliest date since record keeping began 1,200 years ago.
According to data collected by Osaka University, the 2021 cherry blossom season in the city of Kyoto peaked on March 26, the earliest since 812 AD, after an analysis of records dating back to imperial court documents and diaries. According to records, the last earliest peak was recorded in 1409, when the season reached its peak on March 27. However, scientists believe that the increasingly early blossoming in recent decades are likely due to climate change.
The cherry blossom season lasts only for a few days (two weeks, approximately) but their arrival is significant, both economically and culturally as this symbolic flower of the spring signifies a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. This is also the time where friends, family, and even co-workers get together to celebrate.
The dataset for cherry blossom season in Japan is especially valuable because it goes back so far. According to an earlier paper published in Biological Conservation, a scientific journal, “In Kyoto, records of the timing of celebrations of cherry blossom festivals going back to the 9th century reconstruct the past climate and demonstrate the local increase in temperature associated with global warming and urbanisation.”
*Image for representational purposes only