Yamataka Jindai Zakura is estimated around 2,000 years old and the oldest cherry tree in Japan.
The tree is growing in precincts of Jissoji Temple in Hokuto city, Yamanashi prefecture. This tree is recognized as one of the “Three Great Sakura Trees” of Japan, and was designated the country’s first-ever Natural Monument as a cherry tree.
Since it was in the middle of the 16th century that Jissoji temple moved to this place, the Jindai cherry has been existed much longer times in here and been respected and loved by the people here.
Jindai, or Kamiyo (different pronunciation from same Japanese characters) means mythical era, and according to legend, the tree was planted by the legendary warrior prince Yamato Takeru, one of the Japan’s most popular heroes in myths. The name of Jindai is named from such long history. It is also said that in the 1200s, the priest Nichiren, founder of the Nichiren school of Buddhism, found the tree dying and prayed for its survival.
The jindai zakura is belong to Edo-higan, one of the 11 indigenous species of Japan. Edo-higan is know it’s longevity and weeping branch nature. Edo-higan is also called Azuma-higan (Edo is old name of Tokyo and Azuma means eastern), because it is in full bloom in the eastern countries such as the Kanto Plain when it is on the Higan; equinoctial week.
Edo-higan is also called Ubasakura, meaning old lady’s cherry, whose flowers bloom before the leaves come out, since leaves and teeth in Japanese pronounced same as “Ha”, and resembled to old lady the scent remains even without teeth.
When we look at this Jindai Zakura that has connected the lives of 2000 years, we cannot help feeling the sublimeness of life. If you are interested in Jindai Zakura, please watch short YouTube video.