Aizu traditional cherry trees tour, April 19, 2018. (会津五桜巡り:杉の糸桜 と 薄墨桜 2018年4月19日)

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(Suginoito Cherry Tree, Aizubange, April 19, 2018. 杉の糸桜 会津坂下 4/19/2018)
There are five designated traditional cherry trees in Aizu. These are called “Aizugozakura”. These are famous not only for their old age, but also for each distinctive variety and nature. Today I first visited Suginoito Cherry Tree in Aizubange which was located in northwest of Aizuwakamatsu. The tree stood in the precinct of Yakuoji Temple which was about 30-minute walk from JR Aizubange Station. The view was beautiful with the southern part of the tree in full bloom as shown above. Small white blossoms were shining blight with the background of blue sky.

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Photo above shows the entrance of the temple. It faces a local road.

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A brief description board stood at the site which said the cherry tree was planted more than 400 years ago. It had been famous for its elegant weeping style.

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(Suginoito Cherry Tree, Aizubange, April 19, 2018. 杉の糸桜 会津坂下 4/19/2018)
Photo above shows another view of Suginoito Cherry Tree from a different angle.

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Another large cherry tree was also in full bloom with pink flowers hanging over six Zizo guardian statues in the same precinct. (Picture above)

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On the ground surrounding the Suginoito Cherry tree, beautiful violet flowers of dogtooth violet were found here and there as shown above.

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Then I returned to Aizubange Station and moved to Aizutakada Station on JR Tadami Line. While waiting at the station I found a board explaining the origin of the name “Aizubange”. It said that the origin was “Bakke” from Ainu which was a language spoken by indigenous people of Japan. The word meant “down the hill”, and this meant Aizubange plain was surrounded by hills.

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(Usuzumi Cherry Tree, Aizumisato, April 19, 2018. 薄墨桜 会津美里 4/19/2018)
Getting off from the train at Aizutakada Station I started to walk toward Isasumi Shrine in the center of Aizumisato Town. There was another designated traditional tree of Aizu called Usuzumi Cherry Tree as shown above. This was a sacred tree of the shrine or “Goshinboku”. The original tree was very old and the variety was very rare. When I visited two days ago it was only 30% bloom but today almost 100%.

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I found a stone monument inscribed with waka poem composed by the last lord of Aizu Matsudaira Katamori as shown above. He praised the color and fragrance of the cherry blossoms in his poem.
会津最後の藩主、松平容保公が詠んだ歌「世の人の 心や深く染めぬらん うすずみ桜 あかぬ色香に」の石碑が脇にあります。

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(Usuzumi Cherry Tree, Aizumisato, April 19, 2018. 薄墨桜 会津美里 4/19/2018)
A close-up view of the blossoms, cute and pretty, is shown above.

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(Miyakawa-senbonzakura, Aizumisato, April 19, 2018. 宮川千本桜 会津美里 4/19/2018)
Leaving the shrine I stopped at a viewpoint called Miyakawa Senbonzakura just adjacent to the shrine. I could see a view of cherry trees along the Miyakawa River with the background of Mt. Aizubandaisan as shown above.

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On the way back to Aizutakada Station, I stopped at two of the temples in the town. The purpose was to receive goshuin red seals of Aizu 33 Kannon series. The first stop was at Ryukoji Temple to receive goshuin for Tomioka Kannon in the town as shown above. This was the 26th of Aizu 33 Kannon. Tomioka Kannon belongs to Fukushoji Temple in the town not to Ryukoji Temple, but as for issuing goshuin seal Ryukoji Temple takes the part, somewhat irregular practice. I visited Tomioka Kannon in 2016 as shown in this blog.

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The second stop was at Takada Kannon and Tennoji Temple as shown above. Takada Kannon was 28th of Aizu 33 Kannon series.

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The goshuin red seal of Takada Kannon I received today was shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20180419杉の糸と薄墨桜 (560x420)

Cherry blossoms in the neighborhood of JR Aizutakada Station, April 17, 2018 (会津美里の桜(JR会津高田駅周辺で) 2018年4月17日)

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(Umanohaka-no-tanemakizakura, Aizumisato, April 17, 2018. 馬の墓の種蒔桜 会津美里 4/17/2018)
Although most cherry blossoms ended in central and coastal region in Fukushima today, Aizu region still has a lot more. Today I visited neighborhood of JR Aizutakada Station in Aizumisato Town and found some large and old cherry trees in full bloom as well as hundreds of cherry trees blooming altogether along the Miyakawa River. Photo above shows a gigantic old tree standing alone in a large farmland with nothing to disrupt the view. It was called Umanohaka-no-tanemakizakura or a cherry tree standing near tombs which tells when to start farming this spring.

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Photo above was a brief description board at the site which said the tree was 400 years old and the blossoms had told farmers each year it’s time to start farming.

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(Furuonta Cherry Tree, Aizumisato, April 17, 2018. 古御田の桜 会津美里 4/17/2018)Photo above shows another large tree called Furuonta Cherry Tree also standing on a spacious ground.

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A brief description placed at the site (photo above) said that this traditional land was given to Isasumi Shrine by General Toyotomi Hideyoshi in late 16th century.

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(Monjuin-chiezakura, Aizumisato, April 17, 2018.文殊院知恵桜 会津美里 4/17/2018)
Next, with a few minute walk I arrived at Monjuin Hall. A large cherry tree was there right next to the hall as shown above. The pinkish blossoms showed beautiful contrast with the traditional structure. The tree was called Monjuin-chiezakura.

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Photo above showed a brief history of the hall, which said that the main image Manjushri Bodhisattva had suffered fire two times.

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(Usuzumi Cherry Tree, Aizumisato, April 17, 2018. 薄墨桜 会津美里 4/17/2018)
Then I moved to Isasumi Shrine right next to the hall. There was a famous sacred Usuzumi Cherry Tree in the center of the precinct as shown above. The tree just started to bloom and the blossoms increased rapidly during the day. Pictures above show the view of my second visit in the afternoon. It grew to 30% bloom. I like to come back again two days later to see full blossoms.

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There was Ayame-en Garden across a road from the shrine. Many cherry trees were in full bloom in the garden as shown above.

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(Kamiyo-zakura, Aizumisato, April 17, 2018. 神代桜 会津美里 4/17/2018)
There was another old sacred cherry tree called Kamiyo-zakura just adjacent to the garden as shown above. The tree was 300 years old.

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(Miyakawa-senbonzakura, Aizumisato, April 17, 2018. 宮川千本桜 会津美里 4/17/2018)
Lastly, I walked along the Miyakawa River bank just adjacent to the shrine. Hundreds of cherry trees were planted along the river bank by local people. This was called Miyakawa Thousand Cherry Trees as shown above. It was not a perfect view today with light cloud hovering over far mountains but I hope you can have an image when the sky was cloudless with a clear mountain view.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20180417会津高田の桜 (560x420)

Cherry blossoms at Kowataki Park and Kabokudanchi, Koriyama, April 5, 2018 (郡山の小和滝橋、花木団地の桜 2018年4月5日)

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(Cherry blossoms at Kowataki Bridge, Koriyama, April 5, 2018. 郡山 の 小和滝橋 4/5/2018)
Cherry blossoms are hurrying to bloom like an express train this year all across Japan. There was no flower at this site on this Monday, but today, four days later, cherry blossoms were in full bloom at Kowataki Bridge over the Abukuma River as shown above. The mountain in the back was Mount Adatara.

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(Cherry blossoms at Kowataki Park, Koriyama, April 5, 2018. 郡山 の 小和滝公園 4/5/2018)
The bridge was right next to small Kowataki Park as shown above. The park was located at Nishitamachi district in northeastern Koriyama.

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(Tenjinmeotozakura at Takashiba Dekoyashiki, Koriyama, April 5, 2018. 天神夫婦桜高柴デコ屋敷 4/5/2018)
Then I stopped at Takashiba Dekoyashiki village in the neighborhood. A large weeping cherry tree called Tenjinmeotozakura was close to full bloom as shown above.

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A photo above shows pretty garden within the hamlet with other cherry blossoms and displays.

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(Blossoms at Kabokudanchi, Koriyama, April 5, 2018. 郡山 の 花木団地 4/5/2018)Finally I stopped at flower tree fields called Kabokudanchi on the way back home. A variety of flower trees planted by farmers were blooming as shown above. It looked like a small paradise.

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Some other fantastic views along the road with white and pink blossoms are shown above.

The exact locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
GPS trace is not shown this time due to device trouble.
20180405小和滝公園と花木団地 (560x420)
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