Cherry blossoms in Japan bloomed at their earliest in 600 years. Researchers say blossoms in the city of Kyoto peaked on the 26th of March. This peak was a day earlier than the previous record set in 1409. Data on Kyoto's cherry blossoms go back 1,200 years. As far back as the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial court wrote about the blooms in diaries. Japan had much warmer weather in the first few months of this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate change. They say plants are flowering and blossoming earlier than normal because of global warming.
Cherry blossoms are important in Japanese culture. People keep a close eye on the news of blossoming times from cherry-blossom forecasts. The blossoms are called "sakura" in Japan. People plan trips to famous cherry blossom spots and have picnics under the sakura. The blossoms provide Japan with an important economic boost each spring. A Japanese newspaper explained the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply influenced Japanese culture for centuries. It has regularly been used in poetry and literature. Their fragility is seen as a symbol of life, death and rebirth."