Tuesday, April 10, 2012

cherry blossoms (1)

Chidorigafuchi(千鳥ヶ淵) in Tokyo
photo by
The cherry blossoms reached full bloom in Tokyo on April 6th, in Osaka, Kyoto and Yokohama on the 9th. Most viewing spots are crowded with people enjoying the flowers. Many people also enjoyed night viewing of illuminated cherry trees last weekend, but temperatures fell below 10 degrees Celsius.

In Yokohama, most schools held entrance ceremonies on April 5th.
A low-pressure system as strong as a typhoon caused storm damage in many areas last week.

目黒川の桜 チョイチョイ by -hae- /flickr
Meguro River(目黒川) in Tokyo
Although many different varieties of cherry trees are indigenous to Japan, many somei-yoshino(染井吉野, Yoshino cherry, Prunus × yedoensis) trees were planted throughout Japan after World War Ⅱ.
Yoshino Cherry is a cherry cultivar that gardeners and craftsman at Somei in Edo(now Tokyo) grew and offered in the first half of the 18th century. It's not seed-propagated cultivar and can be propagated by seeding or grafting.

桜 sakura_17 by ajari /flickr
Zenpukuji River(善福寺川) in Tokyo
In 1986 and 2006, chloroplast DNA analsys determined that its mother is Edohigan(江戸彼岸, Prunus pendula Maxim. f.ascendens Ohwi or Cerasus spachiana Lavallee ex E.Otto var. spachiana).

In 2007, base sequence of nucleic acids of POLA1 gene confirmed that its father is the Oshima Cherry (大島桜, Cerasus speciosa) which is native to Izu Oshima island and the Izu Peninsula near Tokyo. Its leaves are used to make a confection called sakura-mochi(桜餅). The leaves are edible.

神田川・面影橋の桜 by kuracom /flickr
Kanda River(神田川) in Tokyo
Wild cherry trees have much longer life-spans than Yoshino cherry trees.
The wild cherry trees crossbreed easily.
Yoshino Cherry has lifespan of about 60 years, but attempts have been made to extend their life.

We can check this year's bloom status of the cherry blossoms in major viewing spots all over Japan.

Ryoan-ji Temple
photo by KYOTOdesign
A cherry tree at Ryoan-ji Temple(龍安寺) in Kyoto stars in ad for a railroad company this year.

・Best time to see it: late March to mid April
・Varieties of cherry trees: Yoshino cherry, Beni-shidarezakura(紅枝垂桜, Cerasus spachiana ‘Pendula Rosea’), Yamazakura(山桜, Cerasus jamasakura (Koidzumi)H.Ohba) or Prunus serrulata), double-flowered cherry blossoms(八重桜, Yaezakura)

Nihon Sakura no Kai Foundation (literally, association for cherry blossoms in Japan) chose '100 best cherry blossoms viewing points in Japan' in March 1990.

桜、池 by /flickr
Inokashira Onshi Park

Inokashira Onshi Park(井の頭恩賜公園) in Tokyo
(one of 100 best cherry blossoms viewing points )

The sites of castles or the ruins of ancient castles are covered with cherry blossoms.

by lesterwalbrugh /flickr

Odawara Castle in Kanagawa Prefecture (one of 100 best cherry blossoms viewing points)

Its cherry trees are fully in bloom now.

Photo by
Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto Prefecture(one of 100 best cherry blossoms viewing points)
Petals of its cherry trees flutter down.

Long-lived, lone cherry trees also attract many visitors.
Yamataka Jindai-zakura(山高神代桜) in Yamanashi Prefecture, Neodani Usuzumi-zakura(根尾谷 淡墨桜) in Gifu Prefecture, Miharu Taki-Zakura(三春の滝桜) in Fukushima Prefecture are called three major lone cherry trees.

Yamataka Jindai-zakura
photo by
Yamataka Jindai-zakura started to bloom yesterday.
・Location: Jisso-ji Temple(実相寺), Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture
・Best time to see it: early April
・Age: about 2000
・Varieties of cherry trees: Edohigan(Cerasus spachiana)

Neodani Usuzumi-zakura
photo by
Neodani Usuzumi-zakura has swelling buds now.
・Location: Usuzumi Park, Motosu City, Gifu Prefecture
・Best time to see it: early to middle April
・Age: over 1500
・Varieties of cherry trees: Edohigan(Cerasus spachiana)

Miharu Taki-Zakura
photo by
Miharu Taki-Zakura has buds now. In the Edo Period, this tree became known among people and the lord of the Moharu Domain preserved it.

・Location: Miharu Town, Tamura District, Fukushima Prefecture
・Best time to see it: middle to late April
・Age: over 1000
・Varieties of cherry trees: Beni-shidarezakura(紅枝垂桜, Cerasus spachiana ‘Pendula Rosea’)

cherry trees on Takamori Pass(高森峠), Aso-gun, Kumamoto Prefecture

Sakura Road / 高森峠(たかもりとうげ)千本桜(せんぼんざくら)
Takamori Pass

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