Sakura [桜(さくら)](cherry blossom)

Sakura[桜(さくら)](cherry blossom) blooming is indispensable in Japanese spring. That is a symbol of spring which Japanese people love the most. During the season of Sakura blossoms, many Japanese go to Ohanami[お花見(おはなみ)](viewing flowers).

Sakura trees at Jissō-ji
Sakura trees at Jissō-ji, Hokuto, Yamanashi

Generally, when hearing "Sakura", we are reminded of "Somei-Yoshino[ソメイヨシノ]".
Somei-yoshino is a kind of cherry tree. The cherry trees on the banks of the Potomak River at D.C. are also Somei-Yoshino.


But there are many kinds of Sakura in Japan and the most of them including Somei-Yoshino are cultivated species. They were made from about 10 original species such as Edo-higan[江戸彼岸(エドヒガン)], Ōshima-zakura[大島桜(オオシマザクラ)], Yama-zakura[山桜(ヤマザクラ)] and Mame-zakura[豆桜(マメザクラ)].

The famous Sakuras except for Somei-Yoshino are as follows.

Yama-zakura: That means cherry tree of mountain. Literally, These grows on the mountains. Yama-zakura is a representative wild Sakura species. This flower is white or pale pink. And its bark is used for Kaba-zaiku[樺細工(かばざいく)] which is a traditional craft of Kakunodate[角館(かくのだて)], Akita Pref.


Ōshima-zakura: Izu-Ōshima Island[伊豆大島(いずおおしま)] is a famous habit of them. That is the original species of many gardening Sakuras including Somei-Yoshino. That has big white blossoms. And salted leaves of that are used for an ingredient of Sakura-mochi[桜餅(さくらもち)](Mochi wrapped with salted Sakura leaf).



Kanhi-zakura[寒緋桜(カンヒザクラ)](Hikan-zakura[緋寒桜(ヒカンザクラ)]): That is native to southern China and Taiwan, and it was introduced into Okinawa where is a famous spot of Kanhi-zakura blossoms. THat is an early blooming Sakura.


Kawazu-zakura[河津桜(カワズザクラ)] is an early blooming Sakura. Kawazu-zakura was discovered at Kawazu town, Shizuoka Pref. It is said that Kawazu-zakura is a natural hybrid of Ōshima-zakura & Kanhi-zakura.

Kawazu-zakura at Matsudo City
Kawazu-zakura along the Sakagawa River, Matsudo, Chiba

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Kawazu-zakura at Shimogamo spa[下賀茂温泉(しもがもおんせん)], Shizuoka

Shidare-zakura[枝垂桜(シダレザクラ)]: That is a general term for Sakura which has drooping branches like a weeping willow. These are grace and beautiful.

Shidare-zakura at Denpō-in Temple, Taitō, Tokyo
Shidare-zakura at Denpō-in Temple, Taitō, Tokyo, Chiba

Yae-zakura[八重桜(ヤエザクラ)]: That is a general term for double flowered cherry trees. These have big blossoms. And these blossoms are sometimes salted and used for the topping of An-pan[あんパン] and Sakura-yu[桜湯(さくらゆ)] which is a hot water with salted Sakura blossom.

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Yae-zakura near my house

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Yōkō-zakura[陽光桜(ようこうざくら)] at Jyunsai-ike park

Amagi-Yoshino at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
Amagi-Yoshino[アマギヨシノ] at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

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