Shikizakura: Sakura that Blossoms Twice a Year
Shikizakura, written as 四季桜 in Japanese, means sakura that blossoms in four seasons. Indeed shikizakura blossoms twice a year, which are during spring (March to April) and during autumn (October to December). It turns out that the term of shikizakura differs in other parts of Japan. Sakura that blossoms twice a year is called Shikizakura in Toyota, but others also call them as Fudanzakura (sakura that always blooms) or Fuyuzakura (winter sakura) or Kanzakura (cold sakura). Based on my google research, shikizakura is a cross between Mamezakura and Edohigan which are the other types of sakura tree.
Photo: Bong Grit on Flickr
The nearest place to see shikizakura from Nagoya is in Obara Park in Toyota-shi. I went there in December with my friends by car and it took around one and a half hour to reach Obara Park. Unfortunately, it was not the best time to enjoy shikizakura because the festival was already over and there was no much sakura left in the park. My friends and I tried to find good spots to capture the beauty of shikizakura and momiji (autumn leaves) together. But because the peak of shikizakura blooming was already over, we only found limited places in the park which fitted our preferences. Nonetheless, the good thing is that we could take many good photos and enjoy the beauty of shikizakura peacefully without being bothered by the crowds.
I was really curious and excited to see shikizakura because I was wondering how come sakura can bloom in autumn, maybe there would some differences between shikizakura and the usual sakura. When I eventually saw shikizakura I was surprised that I could not find any much different from the usual sakura that blooms in spring. They were perfectly the same. I just got a strange feeling when I saw sakura with the momiji together in one frame. Because for me sakura is identical with spring but at that time it was autumn so momiji should be the main object. But still the color combination of sakura and momiji was really beautiful.
The park actually was quite big but there was no places for picnic such as sitting and eating under the shikizakura trees or the momiji trees. It was the festival period, there should be many food stalls there because I saw at that time the people were cleaning up the food stalls area. I walked all the way through the zigzag alley which was surrounded by shikizakura trees and momiji trees and finally found an old small temple. It was really peaceful to be there.
I suggest everyone who wants to visit Obara Park to go there in the end of November or early in December because that is probably the perfect time to enjoy the full blooming of shikizakura. The website of Obara Park is also updated throughout the year so you can actually check the schedule when shikizakura is blooming both during spring as well as autumn.
Photo: Bong Grit on Flickr
More information can be available from the Obara Park website.