The cherry blossom front and specimen trees

By Staff Writer
March 24, 2023
In Japan, there is a term called "sakura zensen" (cherry blossom front). It is a line that connects the blooming dates of the somei-yoshino variety of cherry trees in various regions of the Japanese archipelago. The blooming date of cherry trees differs from place to place, but the places where they bloom at the same time are distributed in a linear fashion, moving from the south to the north.

The average bloom date is around March 25 in Miyazaki and Kochi prefectures, March 31 on the line connecting Yamaguchi prefecture, the Seto Inland Sea and the southern Kii Peninsula to the Tokai region and the southern Kanto region, April 10 on the line connecting the southern Tohoku region to Nagano and Toyama prefectures, April 30 in Aomori prefecture and May 10 in Hokkaido. However, the blooming date is delayed by 2 to 3 days at an elevation of 100 m above sea level on the same front.

The cherry blossom front is drawn based on the blooming dates of 58 specific cherry trees called "specimen trees. Here are five locations with particularly famous specimen trees.
Cherry tree at Yaskuni Shrine in Tokyo
Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo 
Line of cherry trees along the Arakawa River in Saitama
Arakawa Cherry Blossom Bank, Saitama, Japan
Cherry tree in front of Nijo Castle in Kyoto
Nijo Castle, Kyoto Prefecture
Cherry tree in front of the brightly colored Kimiidera Temple in Wakayama
Kimiidera Temple, Wakayama Prefecture
Cherry trees near a river in Kyusho Park in Tottori Prefecture
Kyusho Park, Tottori Prefecture 
As a general rule, the specimen trees are all of the "Somei Yoshino" species, but in Okinawa Prefecture (Ishigaki Island, Miyako Island, Naha, Minamidaito Island) it "Kanhizakura" cherry trees are used, and in Hokkaido (Wakkanai, Asahikawa, Abashiri, Obihiro, Kushiro) "Ezo-Yamazakura" trees.
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