Cherry Blossoms Bloom Six Months Early in Japan Thanks to Typhoon Havoc

The extreme weather that has hit Japan in recent months has delivered an unexpected side effect: making the country’s famous cherry blossom trees bloom early.

Normally a feature of the Japanese spring, when people celebrate the pink petals of the sakura, a series of typhoons seems to have made the blossoms come six months early.

There have been more than 350 reports of premature blossoms, from the island of Kyushu to as far north as Hokkaido, the Weathernews website reported, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Tree surgeon Hiroyuki Wada told NHK that the reason for the phenomenon was likely the storms stripping trees of their leaves, which are crucial for the release of hormones that stop premature flowering.

GettyImages-941344664 Blooming cherry blossom trees surround a pagoda on April 3, 2018 in Yoshino, Japan. Typhoons and warm weather have meant some of the trees are blooming early. Getty

This, combined with the unusually warm weather that followed the typhoons, may have “tricked” the trees into flowering.

“This has happened in the past, but I don’t remember seeing anything on this scale,” he said.

Although the trees cannot bloom a second time, most of Japan’s blossoms would flower next spring as usual.

That time of year is known as hanami, which means flower viewing. It is very fleeting, with the blossoms only lasting a week or two. During that picturesque period, people picnic under the trees to mark the start of spring.

“The buds that opened now won’t blossom in the coming spring but only a small number of them are being observed. I don’t think it will affect cherry blossom viewing next year,” Wada said.

Japan has been battered by typhoons this year, including Jebi, which claimed 11 lives and shut down Osaka’s Kansai airport.

More than 45,000 homes were left without power four days due to Typhoon Trami. Meanwhile, Typhoon Kong Rey brought severe weather to Okinawa.

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