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Cherry Blossoms 2007
 
Meiboku : Time-Honored Trees

Some of the sakura varieties live for centuries without withering so badly that it cannot put on blossoms anymore. Many of the Edohigan and Yamazakura are the representative ones, seeing the flow of the history for many a year. Over the years these trees, like human beings, gradually take on a dignified presence and taste the young trees can never express, and these trees become time-honored trees that people treasure and feel fond of at the same time.

Here are only a handful of those trees. Viewing them gives you a different kind of feelings from viewing the thick cloud of the young pink at popular hanami spots.
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The Kubo Cherry Blossoms of Isazawa | Yamagata Prefecture
This huge old tree of 9 meters in circumference and branches spreading out 10 meters wide, supported by dozens of posts is estimated to be 1,200 years old (N.B. there is another estimation saying 500). The name “Kubo” is said to have derived from either or both the former name of this region, or the tragic love romance between Otama, the daughter of Lord Kubo, and Sakanoue Tamuramaro. Kubozakura is also registered as national natural monument.
 
Isshingyo-no-sakura | Kumamoto Prefecture
This cherry tree is told to be the lime tree of the ruler of this area in 16C, and is an old tree with 400 years of history. It is 22 meters tall, 6 meters wide in circumference, branches stretching out 30 meters at the widest, and the trunk is split in half. The petals have white color and are faintly green in the center. Full blossoming season is early April and the tree is lit up at night.
 
The Weeping Cherry Trees of Maruyama Park | Kyoto Prefecture
Maruyama Park
The Weeping Cherry Trees of Maruyama Park is also known as “Gion-shidare”. The senior cherry tree was transplanted from the shrine ground of Yasaka Shrine during Edo Period, and the present junior was planted in 1949, with the seed of the senior shidare. At night the tree is lit up and a fantastic atmosphere fills the skies of Gion.
 
The Weeping Cherry Tree of Kodaiji Temple | Kyoto Prefecture
Kodaiji - built by the order of Nene, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi mourning the loss of her husband - has attracted many people since the Edo Period as a famous spot to view flowers. As you enter the temple and go around into the temple ground, you will find the fabulous circuit style Japanese garden where the weeping cherry tree graciously drapes its branches. The garden is illuminated at night, and besides the garden the temple has many things to see such as the tearoom and gold lacquered articles.
 
The Weeping Cherry Tree of Kongoji Temple | Tokyo Prefecture
Kongoji is known to be the origin of Oume. In the front garden of the temple grounds you can find the legendary plum tree told to have been planted by Tairano Masakado. This plum tree is said to be hundreds of years old and is very weak, but still puts on fabulous plum blossoms every March. Now, on the same temple ground grows another noble tree, a 150-year-old weeping cherry tree. Although it is not as old as the plum tree, the branches with faint ruby blossoms falling from the 20-meter-tall tree is admirable. Another noble weeping cherry tree of Baiganji is only a ten minute walk from here.
 
The Shiroyamazakura of Itsukaichi Town | Tokyo Prefecture
Itsukaichi Town, the “Inner Parlor of Tokyo” has rich nature and welcomes many visitors coming to enjoy natural leisure. Along the river running on the southern side of the town sits Kogenji, and in front of its temple gate grows the Shiroyamazakura. It is the largest tree of the kind in Tokyo, and the branches spreading out in all directions are surprisingly thick. When it is at its height you can see the tree from a distance and looks like a white mountain, as its name tells (shiro: white, yama: mountain, z(s)akura: cherry blossoms).
 
The Weeping Cherry Tree of Koishikawa Korakuen | Tokyo Prefecture
Alongside of Rikugien Garden, Koishikawa Korakuen is one of the Two Major Gardens representing Edo Period. On top of the gorgeous structure and design of the Japanese traditional garden, you can also find Chinese influence here and there in this garden. Koishikawa Korakuen shows seasonal faces throughout the year with the rich variety of greens and flowers, but most of all, the weeping cherry tree blossoming in early April is especially marvelous. This weeping cherry has an elegant figure as compared to other weeping trees, with fine and delicate branches graciously falling towards the ground. Although the tree is still fairly young with only 60 years of history, it definitely has a presence of worth viewing.
 
The Someiyoshino at Koishikawa Botanical Garden | Tokyo Prefecture
Koishikawa Botanical Garden has a history of 300 years and is the oldest botanical garden in Japan. Cherry blossoms begin to blossom in early February and goes on till March and April, but the most impressive is the Someiyoshino blossoming in early April. Generally speaking, the life span of Someiyoshino is said to be about the same as human beings or shorter, but it is said that in 1868 there was a Someiyoshino of 100 years of age, naturally making it the oldest Someiyoshino verified so far.
 
 
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