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     In Yamanashi’s Hokuto City located just a 40 minute drive Northwest of Kofu, lies a tree of legend; The Jindai Zakura. Although the exact age of this 10.3m tall tree cannot be determined as of yet, its age is placed at between 1,800-2,000 years old making it the oldest cherry blossom tree in Japan and perhaps the world. 

     Tales of the Jindai Zakura’s roots goes all the way back to the age of Japan’s legendary Yamato Takeru also known as Prince Otsu who also served as Japan’s 12th Emperor. It is said that it was this legendary figure who planted the tree while traveling in the region during the first century. However, he is not the only famous figure associated with the tree. Buddhist Priest Nichiren (1222-1282) is said to have come upon the tree at a time where it was withering and looked as if it would soon die. It is said that seeing it in this state saddened the Priest and so he prayed for its recovery. Not long after it seemed to completely recover and from then on also went by the name of Myoho-zakura (Saddharma Cherry Blossom). 


     Walking along the path of Jisso-ji Temple in which the tree is housed, there is another interesting tree to check out: The Uchuu Zakura aka the space cherry blossom tree. This smaller tree was actually born from the seeds of the Jindai Zakura, but that isn’t the only thing that makes this tree special. Back November of 2009 the seeds from the Jindai Zakura were taken into space by NASA and spent approximately 8 months circling the globe from the space station. Out of the 118 seeds brought into space that day only two came bloom, one being the Uchuu Zakura on grounds of Jisso-Ji. Furthermore when it did come to bloom another interesting thing to note was that although Cherry Blossom usually only have five petals—those of this tree had six. 

     As this year has been a little warmer than usual according to the Japan Meteorological Cooperation’s Feb 27th report Cherry Blossom Season is predicted to start around March 20th with flowers coming to full bloom by around the 27th. As the trees are quite famous it does tend to be a bit crowded so make sure to visit on the weekdays to avoid the heavy foot traffic. Take in the ephemeral beauty of these Cherry Blossoms that only bloom once a year on your next trip through Yamanashi!



Yamataka Jindai Cherry Blossom
Address: 2763, Mukawacho Yamataka, Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi, 408-0306, Japan
Telephone: 0551-26-2740

Published on

  • April 6, 2020


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