Photo/IllutrationA weeping cherry tree blooms while leaves of nearby trees start to turn red in Sendai on Oct. 17. (Yosuke Fukudome)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Sightings of out-of-season cherry blossoms are being reported across Japan, and a combination of a strong typhoon and subsequent summery weather is believed to be responsible.

Weathernews Inc. reported the phenomenon after conducting a survey on its weather forecast app from Oct. 12 to Oct. 14, and 354 users from Hokkaido to Kyushu reported flowerings of the “someiyoshino” variety of cherry.

The plant usually starts flowering in spring.

In Sendai’s Aoba Ward, northeast of Tokyo, more than 50 weeping cherry blossoms could be seen around Sendai Castle on Oct. 17.

Rows of bare cherry trees along the Megurogawa river in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward were also dotted with white blossoms, and passers-by were capturing the rare sight with smartphone cameras.

Weathernews thinks Typhoon No. 24 that powered through much of Japan from late September to early October is the likely cause.

Cherry buds usually remain closed during autumn even if temperatures are warm. That is because a certain type of hormone secreted from leaves inhibits the buds’ growth.

However, the extreme winds of the typhoon are believed to have either blown away leaves or caused salt damage to them by blowing seawater inland, cutting off supplies of the growth-inhibiting hormone to buds.

On top of that, warm weather continued after the storm, and buds were activated and started to bloom.