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Kyushu and Fukuoka 2021 cherry blossom dates
Please note other parts of Japan will have different cherry blossom flowering dates. These ‘sakura’ predictions are for Kyushu only.
By the way, if you are wondering what ‘sakura’ means, it’s simply Japanese for ‘flowering cherry tree’.
Latest information on cherry blossom dates in Kyushu (2021)
A month ago I wrote this, based on the first official forecast (published on January 15): “This year it seems Mother Nature has studied the calendar because the forecast for Fukuoka is exactly as expected”.
However the latest forecast (published on February 25) shows the blooming is now expected one week earlier than usual. Here in Fukuoka we’ve had lots of unseasonal weather recently and this has affected the cherry trees. The forecasted first flowering date is March 15 (that’s 8 days earlier than the average year) and the forecast full bloom date is 7 days earlier than usual on March 25.
What happened in 2020?
In Fukuoka the first bloom started on 21 March and full bloom began on 02 April. In Kagoshima the first blooming date was 01 April and full bloom 19 April.
First bloom vs Full bloom
Cherry blossom predictions include date of ‘first bloom’ and date of ‘full bloom’. The date of first bloom is the first day on which 5 or 6 buds open on official observation trees. The date of full bloom is the first day on which 80% or more buds open on official observation trees. You may be wondering what are ‘official observation trees’? These are trees from 1,000 designated locations around Japan. They are used every year and so allow easy comparison from one year to the next.
When do sakura trees look best?
The cherry blossoms on a tree look very best from a few days before full bloom until a few days after full bloom. If you are planning a trip to Kyushu for cherry blossom (I guess that’s why you are reading this) then aim for full bloom period. Don’t forget though, some species of cherry tree bloom earlier than others.
When is the best time to visit Kyushu for cherry blossom viewing?
This is the key question, right? We always tell our clients the best time to visit Kyushu for cherry blossom viewing is last week of March into the first week of April. This is our best-guess based on average historical data.
Average full bloom dates in Kyushu
These are the average full bloom dates over the last 40 years:
Fukuoka: 01 April
Kumamoto: 01 April
Miyazaki: 02 April
Saga: 03 April
Oita: 03 April
Nagasaki: 03 April
Kagoshima: 04 April
South Kyushu vs North Kyushu blooming dates
The cherry trees in South Kyushu bloom later than those in North Kyushu. On average the blooming dates for Kagoshima (on the southern tip of Kyushu) are three days later than Fukuoka in the north.
Detail of spots around Kyushu
If you want super-detailed information you can find blooming predictions for dozens of individual spots around Kyushu. Honestly speaking, you might just drive yourself crazy with detail. Perhaps it’s better just to hope, pray and be lucky.
Reliability of predictions
Predicting blooming dates is very difficult. The earlier the prediction is released, the more incorrect it is likely to be. We usually get the first predictions in January. On average these early predictions miss the actual blooming dates by four days. Even predictions just two weeks before are wrong by an average of two days.
Cherry blossom predictions are unofficial
In years gone by the Japan Meteoritical Office issued official predictions. However they stopped doing this in 2009. The predictions these days are made by commercial companies. Two of the most well-known are Japan Meteorological Corporation and Sakura Weathermap. Unfortunately the predictions by each company differ by some days. You know why? Because in the end, cherry blossom prediction is an art and not a science.
Can you guarantee cherry blossom viewing?
There are no guarantees. We all rely on the mood of Mother Nature. Some years are average, some years early and some are late. The earliest first bloom in Kyushu was 13 March in 2009. The latest record of first bloom Kyushu was 06 April in 1962. You see? Blooming dates can be weeks apart depending on the whims of nature.
Tips to see cherry blossom bloom
Come as long as possible! Of course we all wish we could but most of us have time and money limits. However if you can stay for two weeks you will almost certainly see the sakura bloom
Visit north and south Kyushu. The wider geographical area, the higher your chances to see the cherry blossoms bloom.
Visit the last week of March and the first few days of April. On an average years this will be the most likely dates to see the cherry trees in full bloom.
Be Lucky! No matter how well you plan, you’ll still need some luck.
Bonus Tip: visit with hope but not expectation. Kyushu is still an amazing place with cherry blossoms or without. After all said and done, if you see them you see them. If you don’t, you don’t. Don’t let these small pink flowers become an obsession. If your timing isn’t right don’t let it ruin your trip.
Late booking warning
Don’t wait to see the latest predictions. Hotels and flights book up quickly in spring. The longer you leave it the more expensive things become. Every year we have clients contact us last minute. Most can’t come because flights become extraordinarily expensive.
How are blooming predictions made?
The predictions are based on the temperatures in autumn the previous year, winter temperatures and cherry tree growth in spring. This information is compared to the many years previous data to produce the forecasts. It’s an art, not a science, which is why the forecast aren’t completely accurate. Sudden last-minute temperature changes also have an effect. Finally, don’t forget that strong wind and heavy rain can destroy the petals in an instant.
How can I get latest Kyushu cherry blossom dates?
There are around 10 predictions released from January through to April. We’ll release each update on our Facebook page.
Have any questions about Kyushu cherry blossom dates?
Ask your question in the comment section below. We’ll be happy to help.