FLower of Cherry var. Someiyoshino/ ソメイヨシノ

I have enjoyed full blooming cherry in Ueno Park

FLower of Cherry var. Someiyoshino/ ソメイヨシノ
Cerasus × yedoensis “Someiyoshino”/ ソメイヨシノ

Now, the best season for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo. Speaking of cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo, it is Ueno Park. And Somei-yoshino is the most popular and representing Japanese cherry blossoms.

Ueno Park is located northeast of the former Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace) and was originally the vast precincts of Kan’eiji Temple. After the Boshin Civil War (1868) in the early Meiji era, it was reconstructed as Japan’s first public park.Since the Edo era, the precincts of Kaneiji Temple, woods of Ueno, was a famous place for cherry blossom viewing.  And it has not been changed and loved as a place for people to enjoy the arrival of spring as they wish since the Meiji era.

Chu-do Central Hall
Chu-do Central Hall of Kan’eiji temple

Among the many cherry blossoms planted in Ueno Park, Somei-yoshino is especially noticeable. It is said that 80% of the cherry blossoms planted in Japan are Somei-yoshino.The variety is said to be bred by a planter in Somei Village (currently Komagome, Toshima city), located further north from Ueno Park, and It was once sold as Yoshino cherry blossoms in the first year of the Meiji era and spread all over Japan.

Somei-yoshino variety

Somei-yoshino has the attractive characteristics, where pale pink flowers bloom all at once before the leaves come out, it comes from Edo Higan, as well as the characteristics of Oshima, which has large petals with fragrance.

Flower of Cerasus spachiana var. spachiana, Cherry var. Edo-higan
Flower of Cerasus speciosa/ Cherry var. Oshima

Somei-yoshino also is appreciated of growing even faster and becoming good shape with horizontal splendid tree branches.

Full blooming tree of Somei-yoshino variety

However, due to the confusion in the early Meiji era, there are many mysteries about the history of the birth of Somei-yoshino, and various hypothesis have been put forward, but the first one of Somei-yoshino, or identified original tree is still not decided.

Recently, various studies have progressed, and the original tree of another cherry blossom variety, Komatsu-otome (maiden of Komatsu, near the statue of Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito, is genetically very close to Somei-yoshino.

Original tree of Komatsu-otome near the statue of Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito
Flower of Komatsu-otome

There becomes a common theory that Komatsu-otome and Somei-yoshino could have a sister relationship. And, it is considered the old tree of Somei-yoshino planted near this Komatsu-otome may be a original Somei-yoshino or very close to the original, this story is attracting attention now.

Right tree of three tree is Komatsu otome and left of the three may be original Somei-yoshino

If we could think that Somei-yoshino trees have spread all over the country from the trees here, our dreams will grow.

By the way, not only Somei-yoshino but also various kinds of cherry blossoms are planted in Ueno Park. Yamazakura, which were the main target of cherry blossom viewing in the Edo era.

Flowering branch of Cerasus jamasakura/ Cherry var. Yamazakura

It blooms beautiful flowers, but the branches grow high and the flowers bloom in high places along with the reddish leaves, so in the Edo period, cherry blossom viewing often enjoyed flowers from above while walking on the slopes of the mountains.

It is said that the style of sitting under the cherry blossoms and looking up at the flowers from below became the mainstream after the Meiji era when Somei-yoshino became popular. Nowadays, many people pass under the yamazakura without watching.

Somei-yoshino , a superstar variety that has changed the style of cherry blossom viewing.

In Ueno Park, not only Somei-yoshino and Yamazakura, but also various varieties of cherry blossoms welcome you with their unique appearance.

Flower of Cerasus spachiana ‘Maihime’/ Cherry variety ‘Maihime’/
Flowering Cerasus spachiana ‘Maihime’/ Cherry variety ‘Maihime’/
Unnamed new variety of weeping cherry
Cherry plum, Prunus cerasifera, this is not genuine cherry

It’s fun to take a walk in the park while considering the stories of various varieties.

If you are interested in movie, please click YouTube video I uploaded.

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