Cherry blossom season starts in northern Japanese city of Obihiro

A local weather observatory in the northern Japanese city of Obihiro has announced the start of the cherry blossom season there.

Observatory staff confirmed on Tuesday that at least five blossoms had opened on the benchmark tree on its grounds.

The cherry blossom season in the eastern part of the northern prefecture of Hokkaido is the third earliest since records began in 1953, and nine days earlier than average.

The officials say high temperatures at the beginning of April were likely responsible for the early blooming. The blossoms will be at their peak in the area from late April through early May.