Actually, the camera is moving more so than the cherry blossoms… This short video was taken from the crane last week’s picture was taken from. It’s too bad that we all couldn’t have enjoyed the cherry blossoms from this angle!
This is an amateur video, you’ll hear some voices in the background but you will also be able to hear some birds singing. It was taken in the morning before the temple is open to visitors.
We have entered into Golden Week here in Japan! I’m sure there will be many, many people spending their vacation days visiting temples and sites around Kyoto. While the cherry trees are no longer in bloom, the temple grounds are covered with green and Goten and the other temple structures are as beautiful as ever! If you will be in Kyoto for Golden Week be sure to come visit Ninna-ji during your stay!
As explained in this post, in order to make sure people far into the future can enjoy the Omuro Cherry Blossoms, there has been a project to clone and create a younger generation of cherry trees. The first sapling was planted not too long ago, but it is difficult to see because it is planted in the middle of the orchard.
But I was able to get this picture to share!
It doesn’t look like much, but this is one of the trees that will make sure Omuro Cherries can be enjoyed for generations to come.
If you visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival keep an eye out for this little tree while you enjoy the blossoms!
Every year the Cherry Blossom Festival at Ninna-ji is scheduled to coincide with the bloom of the Omuro cherry trees. This year’s Festival starts tomorrow, April 14th! The Omuro cherries should be coming into full bloom in the next few days, but weather is always an important factor in the speed and longevity of the blossoms.
There were already some stalls out near the east gate last week! They offer a variety of souvenirs and tasty snacks.
Preparations were carried on earlier this week, even in the rain! There was no time to waste!
Starting tomorrow visitors coming to see the cherry blossoms will buy their tickets at the little booths to the left and proceed along the path through the Middle Gate. I hope many visitors will be able to come see the Omuro cherry trees in bloom this year!
Recently Ninna-ji was in the news (see the article here) for planting a new Omuro Cherry tree in the orchard! The orchard is filled with about 13o trees and the oldest trees are over 360 years old. Some of the trees have been showing signs of aging and damage, so the temple has been coordinating with outside resources to develop ways to maintain the Omuro Cherries since 2007.
Just a few days ago a sapling cloned from the existing trees was planted in the orchard. It won’t bloom until next spring, but we have high hopes that it will be hardy and bloom with beautiful cherry blossoms! The temple plans to plant around 50 more of these cloned saplings in the near future.
The cherry blossoms may be long gone, but with the beginning of summer the trees have started to grow fruit. While these are not cherries for human consumption, I’m sure they will make a great meal for some birds.
Ninna-ji Temple is home to a special variety of short, late-blooming cherry trees. In many parts of Kyoto cherry trees start blooming as soon as March, but the Omuro Cherry Trees are much slower to blossom, often coming into full bloom in early to mid-April.
The Omuro Cherry Trees have been at the temple since the Edo Period, and have been beloved by many for hundreds of years. The beauty of the trees in bloom and their special characteristics have been recorded in many poems. The practice of flower-viewing at Ninna-ji Temple is even recorded in the Keijo Shoran, a guidebook to Kyoto’s famous sites created during the mid-Edo period (18th century). This long history ultimately led to the designation of Ninna-ji Temple’s cherry tree grove as a nationally recognized Place of Scenic Beauty (“meisho” 名勝) in 1924.
Until recently it was thought that the height of the trees was due to the presence of bedrock under the grove that stunted the roots and the trees’ overall growth, but recent research has discovered that clay-like soil, not bedrock, lies beneath the cherry trees. This clay-like soil offers less oxygen and nutrients for the trees, and this appears to be one reason why the roots of the trees are shallow. Although it was not bedrock to blame, the main assumption that the roots are not able to grow deep into the ground was not mistaken. Research on the trees continues today, and we will update as more is learned about what makes the Omuro Cherry Trees so special.