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In Japan, smartphone apps time spring's cherry blossoms

Tim Hornyak | March 27, 2015
For centuries in Japan, poets have both lamented and extolled the fleeting beauty of cherry tree blossoms, the quintessential symbol of spring.

Japanese websites, meanwhile, abound with information on where to see blossoms, from timetables of current predictions compared to average flowering dates to lists of live cams trained on petals.

For instance, Weather Map, which began issuing predictions in 2010, has PC and mobile sites with detailed information including temperature charts, blooming graphs and a map of Japan showing the front of cherry blossoms moving up the archipelago from south to north. It uses observations of about 50 sample trees to make predictions, according to a Weather Map spokeswoman.

It also has a cherry blossom outlook and maps for most cities. The site predicts the flowers will be at full bloom in Tokyo on March 31 after opening three days earlier than the average date. The traditional cherry "weathervane" for the capital is a grove of old cherry trees at Yasukuni Shrine, a politically controversial Shinto sanctuary that honors soldiers killed in past wars.

 

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