Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Japan’s Three Great Cherry Blossom Trees

Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

Japan’s Three Great Cherry Blossom Trees

John Asano

Japan loves to put its tourist sights into a top three list. You may have heard about some popular top three lists in Japan before like the “Three Most Beautiful Gardens”, the “Three Most Famous Castles” and the “Three Most Beautiful Views”.

Did you know that there is also a list for cherry trees? The list is called the “Sandaizakura” (Three Great Cherry Blossom Trees).

Cherry blossoms or Sakura as they are called here in Japan are a big deal, so it probably doesn’t surprise you too much.

The Three Great Cherry Blossom Trees of Japan includes Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima, Usuzumizakura in Gifu and Jindaizakura in Yamanashi. The great trees have lived for many years and although they are individual trees, they are truly stunning and a must see in spring.

Here is a little about each famous tree to wet your appetite.

Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima Prefecture

Miharu Takizakura is an ancient cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture, in northern Japan. The beautiful tree is a weeping higan cherry tree or shidare sakura in Japanese, and is over 1,000 years old. Its light pink flowers spread in all directions from the branches, like a waterfall and hence its name “Takizakura”, which means “waterfall cherry blossoms” in Japanese.

It is a popular cherry blossom spot with around 300,000 people visiting the 12 meter-high national treasure every year. Many Japanese people regard it as the unofficial number one tree in all of Japan and it is a designated National Natural Monument of Japan.

Miharu Takizakura
The best time to see: mid to late April (varies each year)
Location: Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture
Variety: Shidare Sakura
Website (in Japanese): http://www.takizakura.com/

Takizakura - Miharu, Fukushima, Japan

Photo : shin--k on Flickr

Usuzumizakura, Gifu Prefecture

Usuzumizakura is an ancient cherry tree located in the beautiful mountains of Neo village in Gifu Prefecture. The tree is an Edohigan sakura and is one of Japan’s oldest at over 1,500 years old. It is believed to have been planted by Emperor Keitai in the 6th century.

The name Usuzumizakura means “pale grey cherry blossoms” and perfectly describes the very light grey colour of the blossoms just as they are about to fall.

The tree is unique as it initially sprouts pale pink blossoms, which change to pure white at full bloom, before finally changing to pale grey and falling to the ground. The tree was officially designated a national natural treasure in 1922, and is a must see come spring in central Japan.

The best time to see: early to mid-April (varies each year)
Location: Motosu, Gifu Prefecture
Variety: Edohigan Sakura
Website (in Japanese): http://www.city.motosu.lg.jp/sight/usuzumi/kaika/


Photo : Japan Australia on Flickr

Jindaizakura, Yamanashi Prefecture

Jindaizakura in Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture is believed to be one of Japan’s oldest cherry trees at 2,000 years old. The ancient cherry tree is said to have been planted by Prince Yamato Takeru (an ancient hero of Japan).

The name Jindaizakura means “divine generations cherry blossom” in Japanese. The tree is an Edohigan sakura, and can be found within the grounds of Jissoji Temple. The trunk of the great tree is 12 meters around and it has been captivating visitors for hundreds of years.

The best time to see: early to mid-April (varies each year)
Location: Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture
Variety: Edohigan Sakura
Website (in Japanese): http://www.hokuto-kanko.jp/sakura_blog/2012/02/post-90.php

The blooming of the cherry blossoms can vary from season to season depending on weather conditions. Keep an eye on the annual cherry blossom forecast for the latest news and reports and enjoy the wonderful cherry blossoms this season.


Photo : Shinya ICHINOHE on Flickr