As the weather starts to warm up around Japan, the cherry trees reliably start to form their flowers (also called sakura). Although these trees are found in many countries, it seems most people in Japan are more intense with following the process. I have been confused about the proper names of these trees as they do not actually grow fruit, but I have confirmed that they are indeed cherry trees. There seems to be a significant selection of species that can be found, but they all belong to the genus Prunus. There’s a great biology lesson on classification in all of this.
Websites are dedicated to predicting and tracking the blossoms of cherry trees from Okinawa all the way up to Hokkaido, with the predicted date range in each area. These predictions seem to be more accurate than daily weather forecasts and historical data is tracked and used to predict the upcoming year.
You can be sure that there will be all kinds of photos posted online during his time from all over the country. This year in Sendai, the first bloom was predicted for April 7th and full bloom around April 11th. These dates seem to vary depending on where you are in the city as there are still some trees that have a few flowers on them, even though it is now May.
The big thing to do when the trees are full of flowers is meet up with friends and sit outside eating and drinking from early morning (so you can get a good spot before others) and enjoy the day. It sounds a lot more fun that it really is. It’s still not very warm at this time of the year if you plan on sitting outside in a park all day. It can actually be pretty cold. Many parks will set up large tents so groups can reserve tables and stay somewhat warmer in an enclosed area. This seems to defeat the purpose of enjoying the trees since you have no view of anything inside a tent. It seems to be a more popular thing to do for students, as the school year begins in April around the same time as the cherry blossoms.
There are a few popular spots to visit around Sendai during this time. Below are twenty photos of the cherry blossoms:
South of Sendai on the local train in Ogawara. There are many trees lined along the river and this is a very busy place on the weekend.
A great spot in Sendai for photos any time of the year is Osaki Hachiman Shrine. Basically it is a long narrow stretch of land, containing quite a few cherry trees with access from the north and south ends.
The flowers don’t last long and soon most have blown off to the ground and the leaves are ready to grow.
A row of trees that have dropped almost all flowers onto the walking path. Soon the entire street will be covered in shade to keep people cool from the crazy heat of July and August.
The last flower of this branch tries to fight the wind.