An Old Old Cherry Tree

So apparently this area of Japan is famous for a landmark tree, which attracts lots of tourists. It’s a cherry tree that’s over 1,000 years old, and it’s called Takizakura, which means “waterfall cherry tree.” If you want to see the website where I got this information, or to read more guide-style info about the tree, check out this link:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7792.html

I have to admit, I had been hoping for awhile that we would visit this tree. I knew that last year’s team had gone during sakura (cherry blossom) season, and I really wanted to see those 1,000-year old blooms for myself! (Well, the tree is a thousand years old; I suppose the blossoms are brand new every year.) So, when my boss told us,  last week, that we would get to go that coming weekend, I was excited!

Then, mid-week, we were told that because of the weather (rain, I think) the blossoms were not going to be on the tree by the time we went to see them, so we would not be going. Oh well, I thought. There’s always next year.

But toward the end of the week, the report changed: because the weather had remained cold, the blossoms had stayed on despite the adverse conditions earlier in the week. We were back on!

Needless to say, I was a happy little person as our team boarded two school “buses” (which are really the size of vans) early Saturday morning. We rode for a short time – probably less than half an hour – and arrived at a school, where we parked in a huge empty field and waited for the tourist bus that was to transport us the rest of the way. After another short ride, we arrived at the site of the ancient tree! We had to take a short hike uphill to get there, walking a street which was lined with vendors selling souvenirs and sakura-themed snacks.

The tree was definitely impressive, and still in full bloom. There was a patch of yellow flowers in front of it, which made an eye-catching contrast with the white blooms of the tree. Even at that early hour (it was before 9, I think) there were lots of people. I followed the congested path in front of the tree, then walked up the hill behind it. I tried to get lots of pictures, and had some friends try to get pictures of me in front of the tree. But it was a little difficult to get head shots that had a good perspective, because of all the people we had to work around!

After exploring for an hour, we headed back down the hill – with a quick stop for sakura-flavored ice cream! What does sakura ice cream taste like, you ask? Well – nothing too out-of-the-ordinary. Some of the flavor descriptions I heard from my team members were “whipped cream” and “marshmallows.” I agreed with them – it had a nice creamy, sweet flavor, with maybe a hint of floral or spice. In any case, it was tasty!

And so ended our journey to see the very old tree. Please enjoy the pictures below, as I’m sure they’ll do way more justice than my words…

(BONUS: I also included a couple pictures of the night-time cherry blossoms on one of the streets here in town. They put up pink-shaded lights during this time of year, to go with the cherry blossoms!)

 

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