The Kubo cherry tree is one of a group of 1200-year-old trees in Isazawa, Nagai City, Yamagata prefecture.
By the grounds of the Isazawa Elementary School stands the splendid Edohigan cherry tree, which has been designated as a National Natural Treasure. Its branches reach 9m around and it is 16m tall. Its total length of branches was reputed to have been 63m some 150 years ago.
The name of the Kubo cherry tree comes from the old name of this district. The Kubo cherry tree is also called the Otama cherry tree. Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro, the Barbarian-Subduing Generalissimo, visited this district and fell in love with a girl named Otama. But after returning to his native land, he received the news that she had died of grief for him. Missing her, he had his followers plant cherry trees near her grave. These cherry trees are said to be the origin of the Kubo cherry tree. Perhaps even now, she still loves him and makes the cherry tree blossom each year.
Sandai Shrine in Shina-cho, near the town of Kusatsu in Shiga Prefecture, is famous for its wisteria. The enshrined deities at the shrine are Shinatsuhiko-no-mikoto and Shinatsuhime-no-mikoto.
Every year in April and May, the wisteria blossom clusters grow so long that they touch the ground, hence the name 'suna-zuri-no-fuji' (wisteria trailing the sand). The wisteria was originally planted by Fujihara, a Sessho (regent for a child emperor) and a Kampaku (regent for an adult emperor), in hopes for prosperity and good fortune. The wisteria deteriorated, however, following a fire started by Oda Nobunaga. In time, it sprouted again from its roots, and became what it is today.
At the Wisteria Festival held during this season at the shrine, people exhibit local products, and the Kusatsu-shi Sightseeing Product Association fair takes place, alongside other activities.
Along with the wisteria in the neighboring Shina Shrine and Soujya Shrine, the wisteria at Sandai Shrine are sometimes collectively known as 'shinamisato-no-fuji'. The wisteria of Sandai Shrine are notable for their twisting, lithe appearance, and make for a truly gratifying spectacle.
Since ancient times, the Japanese cherry (sakura) tree has been deeply connected to the spirit and lifestyle of the Japanese people as the spiritual tree of Konohanasakuyahimenomikoto.
The cherry blossom is the representative flower of Japan and, generally said, the word 'flower' for the Japanese means cherry blossom. Sakura is also the official flower of the state of Japan.
For many reasons, too, the sakura tree is important for practical purposes. For example, an early-Jomon period bow excavated from the Torihama Shell Mound Site in Fukui Prefecture contains parts reinforced with sakura bark. In addition, people knew when to sow the fields and time the crops by following the sakura's blossoming.
Yet the sakura is more of an ornamental tree, and 'hanami' ('cherry-blossom viewing') is an annual spring event nationwide. Additionally, the beautiful and transient characteristic of the tree to blossom before foliating in a short space of time, before falling gracefully, has been the subject of countless poems. Furthermore, sakura is often the subject of conversations with a distinctively Japanese aesthetic.
Tonosama Shouzu is a source of water that flows without cease at the threshold of Kasugaonsenkyo, in Toyama prefecture. It is chosen as the site of Toyama's best water and is also among the top 100 best sources of water in Japan.
It is said that the water is similar to that of Ana-no-tani-no-reisui in Kamiichi. Many people living in the neighborhood often go to the spring to collect water. It is comfortable to drink and soothes the throat.
The name Tonosama Shouzu derives from the legend that the lord of Toyama clan, who only drank its waters, never suffered ill-health.
Around the spring are recreation facilities, parks and forests. Kasugasou, Garaku and Oosawano Palace are in the vicinity, and the spring is a landmark of Toyama prefecture.
Mt Chokai is located between Yamagata and Akita prefectures, faces the Japan Sea and is the second highest mountain in Tohoku. It is 2236m in height and also called 'Deba-Fuji'.
People living at the foot of the mountain have worshipped it as a god. It stands almost vertically facing the coastline. Many kinds of alpine plants are native to this area. For example, the Chokai-thistle and the Chokai-fusuma can only be found here.
The weather tends to change drastically and each season has vivid colors. There is plenty of meltwater running between the valleys and sometimes it appears as waterfalls. The water feeds into many ricefields.
From the top of the mountain in the climbing season, you can see Mt. Iwaki, the Hachimantai mountains and the Oga Peninsula to the north and Mt. Getsu and the Asahi Mountains to the south. Moreover, Chokai Lake, an area of pure water in a small hollow, appears surrounded by green plants. The mountain usually opens to climbers on the first day of May.