Did you know that Japan has five trees that are regarded as the country's great cherry blossoms? They were all designated as National Natural Monuments back in 1922, and even the youngest trees on the list are said to be at least 800 years old. If you'd like to inject your sakura season with a little history, here's the rundown!
Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima
Estimates place the age of Fukushima's Miharu Takizakura at somewhere over a thousand years old, and it stands around 12 meters in height with branches spanning 22 meters in parts. The tree attracts several hundred thousand visitors each year, and the best time to catch it in full bloom is from the mid to late April period.
Sakurakubo-115 Taki, Miharu, Tamura District, Fukushima 963-7714
Ishitokaba Zakura, Saitama
Saitama's Ishitokaba Zakura is one of the youngest entrants on this list, clocking in at a spry 800 years old or thereabouts. Perhaps more interesting than its age is its uniqueness - it's a Kabazakura variety (a naturally formed hybrid of the Edohigan and Yamazakura types), and is said to be the only one in existence. Science at work, centuries ago!
3-119 Tokoji, Ishitoshuku, Kitamoto, Saitama 364-0025
Usuzumi Zakura, Gifu
Gifu's Usuzumi Park is home to the Usuzumi Zakura, a tree that is said to have been planted by Emperor Keitai all the way back in the 6th Century. It has withstood a wide range of natural threats to still stand strong today, and the best time to catch it in full bloom is typically the early to mid April period.
Neoitasho, Motosu, Gifu 501-1524
Shimouma Sakura, Shizuoka
Another relatively youthful entrant on the list, Shizuoka's Shimouma Sakura has origins dating back to 1193. The area surrounding the Shimouma Sakura is known for being filled with vibrant yellow rape flowers during spring, and the contrast it provides to the delicate pink cherry blossoms makes it a must-see.
98-1 Kariyado, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, 418-0117
Yamataka Jindai Sakura, Yamanashi
Said to be an almost inconceivable 2000 years old, the Jindai Sakura is an Edohigan variety tree, and has weathered some significant (literal) storms to still remain with us today. Though the tree isn't quite as tall as it once was due to those natural threats, it's still around 10 meters in height with a trunk circumference of almost 11 meters.
Yamataka, Mukawa-cho, Hokuto City, 408-0306