Blog and photos of tea and onsen destinations off the beaten path.
Cherry blossom dates in Fukuoka and Kyushu for 2023
In Fukuoka the cherry blossom blooming dates for next year are forecast to be 26 March to 04 April 2023. This ‘sakura’ forecast is based on the historical average for north Kyushu.
In 2022 the cherry blossom “first bloom” in Fukuoka was March 17 (5 days earlier than historical average) and full bloom was March 27 (4 days earlier than average). The best time to see cherry blossoms are usually in the few days before and after full bloom
Please note these dates are for Kyushu only. Other parts of Japan will have different cherry blossom flowering dates.
By the way, if you are wondering what ‘sakura’ means, it’s simply Japanese for ‘flowering cherry tree’ 🌸
Dates of Kyushu Cherry Blossom Tour (2023)
Sunday 26 March 2023
Friday 31 March 2023
As Japan is still completely closed for tourism we aren’t taking any deposits or confirmed bookings yet. However we have opened a waiting list for this tour. When Japan reopening dates are announced we will start taking bookings for the tour and anybody already on the waiting list will get first priority.Take a look at the 2023 Cherry Blossom Tour price, details, FAQ and photos. Limited places available so get yourself on the waiting list ASAP.
Expect to see the best cherry blossom in Kyushu like this 👇 👇
When did cherry blossom bloom earliest in Kyushu?
The cherry blossom bloomed REALLY early in 2021. In Fukuoka the cherry blossom bloomed 10 days earlier than expected! It’s very unusual to have such big deviation from the usual dates.
Actually, when the first forecast was released in January 2021 it predicted blooming as usual. However we had some really warm weather in February that year and this caused the blossoms to suddenly burst into life and open early. This shows how difficult it is to accurately predict the dates of cherry blossom blooming.
👇 Here is the detailed data for what happened in 2021 👇
Fukuoka (north Kyushu) first bloom: 12 March (11 days earlier than average) || Fukuoka full bloom: 22 March (10 days earlier than average)
Kagoshima (south Kyushu) first bloom: 17 March (9 days earlier than average) || Kagoshima full bloom: 30 March (5 days earlier than average)
If fact, the sakura blooming in Kyushu in 2021 was the earliest ever seen!
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
But WAIT! Compare the average full bloom dates above (last 40 years) to the data below (last 10 years):
Fukuoka: 29 March (40 year average 01 April)
Kumamoto: 31 March(40 year average 01 April)
Miyazaki: 01 April(40 year average 02 April)
Saga: 31 March (40 year average 03 April)
Oita: Oita 03 April(40 year average 03 April)
Nagasaki: 31 March(40 year average 03 April)
Kagoshima: 05 April (40 year average 04 April)
Can you see the pattern? It seems the sakura blooming dates in Kyushu are getting earlier. The only exceptions are Oita Prefecture (which has lots of mountains) and Kagoshima (in the very south of Kyushu).
Curious 🤔 Is it caused by Global Warming? I don’t know.
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.
First bloom vs Full bloom
Cherry blossom predictions include date of ‘first bloom’ (開花) and date of ‘full bloom’ (満開). 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.
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.
Where are the best Kyushu sakura spots?
Check the video 👇👇
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 Meteorological 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 (Update: that record was beaten in 2021 with blooming on 12 March). 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.
Plan your itinerary to include places with different species of cherry tree.
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.