一本桜の楽しみ方 北信・東信版 How to Enjoy Singular Cherry Trees

2010.04.19: 季節 Seasons

Myotoku-ji's singular cherry tree






長野市・須坂市 戸倉上山田の桜より6~7日送れ(2010年は4月18日がベスト)
*明徳寺のシダレ桜 松代(県道35号)
*延命寺のシダレ桜 保科小学校の手前の道に入る (県道34号)
*蓮大事のシダレ桜 大室 (北野美術館の近く)
*弁天様のシダレ桜 須坂 (米子不動里宮の下)

高山村 戸倉上山田温泉の桜より10日遅い
*水中シダレ桜 (県道54号)
*黒部のエドヒガン桜 (一茶ゆかりの里近辺)
*坪井のシダレ桜 (中野市へ行く途中の県道54号)

塩田平・立科町 戸倉上山田の桜より6~7日送れ
*大円寺のシダレ桜 塩田平(県道65号)
*無量寺のシダレ桜 立科・茂田井間の宿(国道142号)
*長久保のシダレ桜 長和町松尾神社近辺 (国道142号)
*福王寺のシダレ桜 佐久市
*五本木の咲き分け桜 佐久市・道の駅ほっとぱ~く浅科(国道142号)

This time of year, many of our guests stay here at Kamesei Ryokan as they drive around Nagano enjoying the flowering trees. First the apricot blossoms in nearby Mori's "Apricot Village", and lately, the cherry blossoms. Most come to see the cherry trees at Ueda Castle, or our local spots such as the Tengu Park above Togura Station, or even Chuo Park behind our inn here in Togura Kamiyamada Onsen. However, lately, a few guest mentioned they are on crusades to see "Ippon sakura", or singular cherry trees.

When I did the translating work for Nagano Prefecture's official foreign language tourism site, there was a passage on these singular cherry trees in southern Nagano:
To be honest, while writing the description in English, I was wondering what the attraction would be in seeing just one, individual tree blooming.

One of our guests, Komoriya-san, gave me a list of "Ippon sakura" in northern and eastern Nagano. I had a bit of extra time on Sunday, so I took our kids to check out one of them in Matsushiro, the weeping willow type sakura tree at Myotoku-ji temple. Seeing the hundreds-of-years old tree made me understand the majesty of the blossoms on such an ancient tree.

Komoriyama-san explained the 3 main reasons for "Ippon Sakura". One is that many are located at a temple. More specifically, by the graveyard of a temple. People plant them so their ancestors can enjoy the annual cherry blossom show. Another is that the trees are located in the middle of a rice field area. The blossoms come on around the same time as the fields need to be prepared for planting. So farmers judge the rice planting timing around when the tree's flowers bloom. Finally (and this one is a bit harder to believe), some famous samurai plant trees when they cross over a mountain pass. Then whenever they go over the pass again, they can tie their horses up to the tree. Hmmm.

Anyways, here is Komoriyama-san's list of suggested "Ippon Sakura" in Northern and Eastern Nagano:

Nagano City / Suzaka
(trees bloom 6-7 days later than Togura Kamiyamada. 2010's peak should be 18-April)
*Myotoku-ji's shidare (Matsushiro, Pref. Rt. 35)
*Enmei-ji's shidare (Pref. Rt. 34 before Hoshina Elem. School)
*Endai-ji's shidare (Omuro)
*Benten-sama's shidare (Suzaka, below Yonago Fudo Shrine)

Takayama Village (10 days later than Togura Kamiyamada)
*Mizunaka's shidare (Pref. Rt. 54 in town)
*Kurobe's edohigan (near the Issa Hall in town)
*Tsuboi's shidare (Pref. Rt. 54 on the way to Nakano)

Ueda/Tateshina/Saku (6-7 days later than Togura Kamiyamada)
*Daien-ji's shidare (Ueda's Shioda Plain, Pref. Rt. 65)
*Nagahisaho's shidare (Nagawa Town, Matsuo Shrine)
*Muryou-ji's shidare (Saku City, Motoima Post Town, Rt. 142)
*Fukuo-ji's shidare (Saku City, south of above)
*Gohongi's sakiwake (Saku City, Hot Park Asashina Rest Area, Rt. 142)

Shidare: Prunus pendula f. pendula
Edo Higan: Prunus pendula
Sakiwake: ??? (pinkish and white blossoms on the same tree?)


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