Five cities famed for cherry trees slate first ‘sakura’ preservation summit

Kyodo

Five cities known for ancient cherry trees recognized as natural treasures in 1922 will hold their first summit meeting on March 23 to discuss preservation methods and plans to boost tourism.

The meeting will be hosted by the city of Kitamoto in central Saitama Prefecture, known for its Ishitokaba-zakura, or Ishitokaba cherry tree.

Among the other “five major cherry trees of Japan” are Miharu Takizakura, or Waterfall Cherry Tree of Miharu, in Fukushima Prefecture and Yamataka-Jindai zakura in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture.

The other two are Kariyado-no-Geba-zakura in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Neodani Usuzumi-zakura in Motosu, Gifu Prefecture.

The ages of these venerable trees range from 800 to 2,000 years.

After the five trees were designated as natural treasures in 1922, they became known as the “five major cherry trees of Japan.”

Three decades later, Fujinomiya’s Kariyado-no-Geba-zakura was further recognized as a special natural treasure.

The Kitamoto Municipal Government said that during the summit, the participants will strive to reach a formal agreement of mutual cooperation.

Kitamoto said it will urge the other cities to share information on preserving the ancient trees and successful examples of promoting tourism.