日本の桜 Japanese cherry blossoms “Sakura”


This year, I went to Shinjuku Gyoen to see the cherry blossoms.


There are many cherry blossom trees in Japan, so you can see cherry blossoms all over Japan without having to go to places called famous places. What a peaceful country a country where the blooming of cherry blossoms is news.


This time I summarized a little about the cherry blossoms.

日本のお花見文化 Japanese cherry-blossom viewing culture


Japanese culture was greatly influenced by China, and was incorporated, established and changed.


Of course, the culture of viewing flowers also came from China. In China, the flower was plum blossoms. Plums are said to have been a symbol of strength because they can withstand the cold of winter and bloom.

時代 Periodお花見の対象 Target of viewing (flowers)
奈良時代 Nara period中国からの伝来:梅 From China: Plum
平安時代 Heian period日本化:梅→桜(ヤマザクラ)
Japanification: Plum → Sakura (Yamazakura)
桜(ヤマザクラ)Sakura (Yamazakura)
The end of the Edo period
In addition to cherry blossoms (Yamazakura), cultivars of cherry blossoms are born (Someiyoshino)
Meiji period
Sakura (Someiyoshino)
北野天満宮の梅 Kitano Tenmangu Shrine Plum (Kyoto)


Due to this influence, before the Heian period, the target of viewing was plum blossoms even in Japan. There are far more Waka (和歌) about plum blossoms in the old Manyoshu than Waka about cherry blossoms.(Waka=a traditional Japanese poem)


After that, Japan in the Heian period was an era in which Japanese culture and aesthetics were formed, just as Maki-e evolved uniquely to Japan. From the Heian period, it is said that it was popular for aristocrats to plant cherry trees in the garden and hold a feast under them while admiring the flowers.


Many of the “Genji Monogatari” and “Kabuki” in the middle of the Heian period, as well as Noh and Kabuki, have the theme of cherry blossoms. In the world of Noh, cherry blossoms have also appeared as a tree where spirits dwell as a symbol of impermanence and sadness.


Many cherry blossoms are also drawn in “Yamato-e,” which depicts a scene that is familiar to Japanese people. Sakura has been passed down as a flower that feels the spring season that is familiar to Japanese people.


And the national flower of Japan is also cherry blossoms. (★ Chrysanthemums and cherry blossoms are both national flowers) Chrysanthemums of the same national flower have been covered in past posts, so please read them if you are interested.


By the way, “Sakura” is also used in Japanese and has a different meaning besides the name of the flower.


People who pretend to be guests in plays and talk to them, and who match the number of people (people who are not real customers) are called “Sakura”. This is because plums are paid for at Baien, but cherry blossoms are flowers that you can see for free. (I think there are various theories)


You can see from Japanese that cherry blossoms are so familiar to Japanese people.


I paid to see Shinjuku Gyoen this time, but there are certainly many places in Japan that you can see without paying. There are many rows of cherry blossom trees in parks and along rivers.

ソメイヨシノという品種 Sakura variety called Somei Yoshino

ヤマザクラ Yamazakura


Among the cherry blossom varieties, “Yamazakura” was the target of cherry blossom viewing during the Edo period. It is not a modern Someiyoshino.

ソメイヨシノ Somei Yoshino


“Yamazakura” blooms with reddish leaves along with flowers. On the other hand, “Somei Yoshino” has only blooming flowers and almost no leaves.


The “Somei Yoshino” variety itself is a cultivar made by humans. It is said to have been made at the end of the Edo period. The Edo period was also an era when flower cultivation such as horticulture was flourishing. “Kiku” has been mentioned in past posts, and “Kiku” is one of them. And Somei Yoshino is said to be a variety that spread after the Meiji era.


There are various theories, but leaves are often omitted when drawing cherry blossoms. It may be more gorgeous and ideal as a design.


Also, during the Edo period, it was avoided to plant red flowers in the garden because of its color. The leaves of “Yamazakura” are reddish, so it may be that Somei Yoshino was the ideal variety to bloom only pale whitish pink flowers.

ソメイヨシノ Somei Yoshino


There are more than 200 cultivars of cherry blossoms in the Edo period, and nearly 400 in modern times. Among them, Somei Yoshino occupies nearly 80% of the cherry blossoms in Japan.


By the way, the cultivar named Somei Yoshino in Chinese characters has the same reading, but it is one of the varieties called Somei Yoshino in katakana.


The Chinese character “染井吉野” is said to have been created by a planter in Somei Village, Tokyo (currently Komagome, Toshima-ku), by improving the cherry blossom varieties “Edohigan” and “Oshimazakura”. It is said that Somei Yoshino developed from there.


There was a Japanese who studied cherry blossoms every day, cultivated varieties hard, and produced “Somei Yoshino” in pursuit of beauty, so even now, many people are entertained in Japan. I am grateful every day to think that the things around me are the result of the hard work of someone I don’t know.

桜前線 Sakura front “Sakura-zensen”


The word “Sakura Front” is often used in TV news, but it is said to have been coined by the media.


Like the weather forecast, it compares the expected flowering dates of cherry blossoms (Somei Yoshino) nationwide and informs us every year in the news. From the south to the north of the Japanese archipelago, cherry blossoms bloom in sequence from late March to the end of May. The news of the flowering of cherry blossoms began after the war.


During the war, cherry trees were also cut down to increase food production. It was also planted again as a symbol of postwar reconstruction and increased.


I think that Japan has continued to maintain peace since the end of the war. Not only in wars, but also in the event of natural disasters, cherry blossoms will bloom in various parts of Japan in the spring. I think it was a plant that made Japanese people feel calm mentally.

新宿御苑の春 Spring at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden


Many of the cherry blossoms at Shinjuku Gyoen that I visited this year are also Somei Yoshino.


At Shinjuku Gyoen, 350 Somei Yoshino are planted in the park.


You can see a lot of cherry blossoms just by going around the large garden. Admission is restricted, and the park is large, so it wasn’t crowded at all and I was able to enjoy the cherry blossoms. This is a recommended cherry blossom viewing spot.


The cherry blossoms were well maintained by the gardener, so they were taken care of and bloomed beautifully.


↓ Shinjuku Gyoen Garden Map (You can get it immediately after entering the entrance)

日本美術の桜 Sakura of Japanese art


Sakura is a motif that is often used as a pattern. In the Kamakura period, it was used as a pattern for samurai weapons, and in the Muromachi period, it was used as a sword guard. It is said that patterns have come to be used because of the speed at which cherry blossoms are scattered. (There are various theories) During the Edo period, it permeated the things around us. Even if it is a lacquer work, you can draw it in various ways.


Japanese art of cherry blossoms at the Tokyo National Museum ↓ (Edo period)


I feel that “Sakura” is commonplace in Japanese conversations, such as “Let’s meet when it gets warmer when you can see the cherry blossoms.” If it blooms beautifully, I would like to inform my important family and friends and see it together.


I would like to thank you for the happiness of seeing the cherry blossoms this year and spend every day.



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