Two-Month Spectacle: Cherry Blossom from Across Japan Enchant Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Setting for Grand Viewing Party | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Two-Month Spectacle: Cherry Blossom from Across Japan Enchant Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Setting for Grand Viewing Party

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Approximately 900 cherry trees of about 70 varieties imported from all over Japan, some of which can only be seen here!

Tokyo is said to have the earliest blooming Someiyoshino cherry trees in Japan this year. There are many places famous for cherry blossoms in Tokyo, and Shinjuku Gyoen is one of them.

Shinjuku Gyoen is also known as the place where former Prime Minister Abe held the cherry blossom viewing party in question. There are approximately 900 cherry trees of about 70 varieties planted here. Why are there so many cherry trees? According to Mikihiro Yoshino of the Shinjuku Gyoen Management Office,

The Shinjuku Imperial Garden is said to have originally been the site of a daimyo’s residence given to Kiyonari Naito, a vassal of Ieyasu Tokugawa, in the Edo period (1603-1868). The garden became the venue for the Imperial Cherry Blossom Viewing Party in 1917, and cherry trees were brought in from all over Japan so that visitors would appreciate the many varieties of cherry blossoms.

There are approximately 70 varieties of cherry blossoms, including Kanzakura and Kawazuzakura, which start blooming in mid-February, weeping cherry blossoms, Yamazakura, and Someiyoshino cherry blossoms from mid-March, and Ichiyo and Gyoiko cherry blossoms from early April. Rare cherry blossoms with double blooms such as turmeric, and green and yellow flowers decorate the garden. You can enjoy cherry blossoms for over two months.

According to Shihoko Ishihara, head of the garden’s second department, there are many rare cherry trees in Japan,

Since Kiyonari Naito was the lord of the Takato domain, the Takato kohiganzakura, which was donated by Takato town, is a variety that is rarely seen outside of Takato town, and the Satsuma kohiganzakura can only be seen outside of our garden. I think it will be difficult.

The Shinjuku Imperial Garden, where cherry blossom viewing parties were held by the Imperial Court; from the early 1950s, “cherry blossom viewing parties” were held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Japan.
The Takato-okohigan-zakura cherry tree is designated as a natural monument by Nagano Prefecture. It is not easy to see them outside of Takato Town.
Satsuma Kanzakura, which blooms at the same time as plums, can only be seen here.

Sunlight and ventilation. If you take care of them, the cherry tree will live more than 100 years.

Someiyoshino cherry trees extend their branches to the edge of the lawn. According to Mr. Ishihara, `We try not to cut the lower branches so that you can appreciate the flowers up close.” When you pass under the branches where cherry blossom petals are falling as they begin to fall, you will be surrounded by cherry blossoms. It is so beautiful that it makes you think that heaven is like that.

It is said, “A fool cuts the cherry blossoms, but a fool does not cut the plum blossoms.

That’s not true. Yoshino cherry trees in particular are easy to renew their branches, so be sure to cut off diseased branches as soon as possible and replace them with new ones to prevent the disease from spreading to other branches or trees. However, it is important to protect the wound by applying medicine (healing agent) to prevent diseases from entering through the cut. (Mr. Ishihara)


Somei Yoshino cherry trees are said to be susceptible to a disease called tengusu, and reach the end of their life span after about 60 years, but there are almost no cherry trees in Shinjuku Gyoen that have contracted the disease. There are many trees that are more than 100 years old. Is there any special management?

We don’t do anything special. We don’t give them much fertilizer. What I pay attention to is the growing environment, such as ventilation, sunlight, and soil environment. Cherry trees are sun trees and need a lot of light to grow, so when planting new trees, the most important thing is to make sure that the space between the trees is large enough to allow the trees to get plenty of sun, says Ishihara.

The ideal distance between trees is at least 10 meters because Somei Yoshino trees have branches that stretch more than 5 meters on either side of the tree. At one time, the space between trees was narrowed by trying to plant as many trees as possible, but when replacing trees that have fallen or decayed due to typhoons or other causes, the space between trees is enlarged.

Someiyoshino trees extend their branches to the lawn. Some trees are more than 100 years old.

On Saturdays and Sundays when the Yoshino cherry trees were in full bloom, 80,000 people visited the park! If you want to enjoy the view slowly, go after Somei Yoshino.

The Shinjuku Gyoen Garden was the site of the Imperial Cherry Blossom Viewing Party. This year, after the Corona season has ended, we hope you will be able to enjoy the cherry blossoms,

On Saturdays and Sundays, when somei yoshino cherry trees are in full bloom, 80,000 people visit the park. In such a crowded place, it is impossible to appreciate the flowers slowly. In fact, only about one-third of the cherry trees in Shinjuku Gyoen are Someiyoshino. After somei yoshino cherry trees finish blooming, yaezakura (double-flowered cherry trees) begin to bloom.

In addition, many people may think of pink cherry blossoms, but you can also appreciate late-blooming cherry blossoms of unusual colors, such as turmeric with yellow petals in early April and gyoikou with green blossoms in mid-April. (Mr. Ishihara)

There are three entrances to Shinjuku Gyoen: Shinjuku Gate, Okido Gate, and Sendagaya Gate.

If you visit several times on weekdays, you may be able to appreciate the various cherry blossoms at a leisurely pace. 

Admission will be by advance reservation only from 10:00 to 16:00 on March 23 (Sat.), 24 (Sun.), 30 (Sat.), 31 (Sun.), and April 6 (Sat.), 7 (Sun.) to reduce crowding.

For details, please visit the Ministry of the Environment and Shinjuku Gyoen website.

The buds of the double cherry blossoms and Ichiyou begin to swell around the time the Yoshino cherry trees begin to fall. Distinctive yellow-green stamens.
Large double-flowered kanzan cherry trees begin blooming around early April.
The yellowish turmeric cherry, which blooms at the beginning, gradually turns whitish, and turns pink by the end of the season.
Gyoikou, known as the “green cherry,” begins blooming at the same time as the leaves come out. It starts blooming at the same time as the leaves come out, so that it is hard to distinguish it from the leaves at the beginning of blooming. Gradually the pink in the center becomes darker.
  • Interview and text by Izumi Nakagawa

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