On March 22, 2013 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASAís Terra satellite captured a striking picture of springtime in Japan. Snow lingers in the north and the mountains in the northwest of Honshu, the major island of the nation. Near the southern coast, a ring of bright white marks Mt. Fujiís snowy summit. The bright blue waters of Tokyo Bay lie east of Mt. Fuji.
The city of Tokyo sits on the northeast shore of Tokyo Bay, and can be seen in this image as a gray smudge, typical of large cities. Although it appears gray from space, the sunny spring day was reportedly a beautiful one in the city, with thousands of delicate, light pink cherry blossoms in bloom and near full peak. The blooming of the cherry trees across Japan is a much-celebrated annual event, and the hallmark of springís arrival.
Although the skies over central Japan are relatively cloud-free, a bank of clouds lies over the northeastern coast and across the Pacific Ocean. To the west, haze and clouds intermingle over the Sea of Japan.