Designated a National Natural Treasure, the Beni-shidare-jizo is a weeping cherry tree estimated to be approximately 400 years old, and said to be the daughter of the 1000-year-old Miharu Waterfall cherry tree.
The Beni-shidare-jizo tree has a base circumference of 6.3m, a trunk circumference of 4.1m at a point 1.3m above ground, and a height of up to 16m. A giant branch spreads 14m to the west from a point 2.5m above the ground. Some 2m above, 11 more large branches spread out in all directions for 18m.
Many descendants of the Waterfall cherry tree have been comfirmed, but no tree can exceed the Jizo tree due to the exceptional beauty of its branches spreading across the sky like wings.
A Jizo-do is built at the foot of the tree where, in the past, and even now, people come to pray for good health for newborn children and protection from premature mortality.
The blossoms are said to bloom annually from mid through late April. The distinct way the lightly colored blossoms of the Beni-shidare-jizo tree flourish in every which way is definitely a sight to see.
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.
Umenosato Park is located in Kojiro, Tsuyama, in Okayama Prefecture. Within the 5-hectare site are over 3800 plum trees representing 14 types of plum. The park was created by locals and was opened in 1994.
From mid-February to late-March, the plum trees blossom, covering the whole park in bloom and marking the advent of spring with their scent. There are many different colored blossoms, ranging from red to pale-pink and white.
A 'Ume Festival' also takes place near the park entrance and lots of people come to visit then. In the ume-processing factory, goods such as pickled plum, jam, dried plum and jelly are manufactured, and prove to be popular goods for sale.
Yuki Shrine, located in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, enshrines the deity Yuki Munehiro, a heroic figure who partipated in the overthrow of the Kamakura government by the Emperor Godaigo during the South and North Dynasty period. Yuki Munehiro followed Kitabatake Chikafusa and his son, Akiie, in South Dynasty. Chikafusa and his followers sailed from Ise Country to Higashi Country to offer their support to Gogaigo's son, Norinaga Shinno (later the Emperor Murakami). On the way, Munehiro died from illness.
The shrine holds documents written by the emperor Godaigo. The district has been called Yuki's Forest since old times, and is deified as Yuki Mound or Yuki God.
From mid-February to early March, 300 weeping apricot trees come into blossom, elegantly wafting their refreshing scent and appearing like a living picture scroll of flowers in early spring. Many visitors from the city and from outside come to visit the shrine at this time.
In 1882, Yuki Shrine was designated a Special Official Shrine. It is one of Chuko's 15 shrines.
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.
Tsuruoka Park lies within the grounds of the old Tsurugaoka Castle, in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture. It is famous for its cherry trees.
The Sakai clan lived in this castle for about 250 years as the Shonai domain head. The park is dotted with the remains of the old stone walls along the moat. An old cedar tree, thousands of years old, reminds you of the castle and its past.
Growing in the park are some 800 of the prettiest cherry trees. The site has been designated as one of Japan top 100 places to see cherry blossom, as well as one of the best places in Yamagata prefecture for cherry-blossom viewing.
There are several different kinds of cherry trees, including: Someiyoshono, Yae Cherry and Weeping Cherry. In the middle of April, they all start to blossom at once.
The cherry trees around the outer moat in the east part of the park are especially beautiful when they are seen reflected in the moat. Mt. Chokai forms the backdrop with the last of the winter snow on its peak. Such scenery makes you particularly savor the nature and romance around you, even though you are not a photographer.
In the cherry-blossom season, many stalls are set up and many visitors come from all over Japan.