Ninna-ji Temple was founded by Emperor Uda in the 4th year of Ninna (888), and has been proud of its high prestige as a monzeki temple (a temple where the head priest is a member of the imperial family, mainly retired Emperor or Emperor Emeritus).
Since the cherry blossoms were planted in the precincts during the temple reconstructed by rebuilding main buildings around 1646, it has become famous as Omuro cherry blossoms. The age of Omuro cherry blossoms from that time would be exceed 360 years. The cherry trees in the temple propagated by cuttings from original trees.
Most of the Omuro cherry blossoms planted in the precincts of Ninna-ji temple are semi-double cherry variety called Omuro Ariake, which has large white flowers mixed with double and single petals. This variety is dwarf and flowers bloom at low place, so it is called Otafuku Sakura, and it has been popularly called “I am the cherry blossoms called Otafuku Omuro, people like me even if my nose (flower) is low”. In Japanese, both the flower and the nose are pronounced the same as “Hana”.
It is said that this Omuro Ariake (Cerasus serrulata ‘Omuro-ariake’) is a variety developed by natural crossing of Oshima (C. speciosa) and Yamazakura (C. jamasakura). It is said that its shortness of plant height is due to genetic effect or the environmental effect like clayey soil in which it is planted, but it seems that it is not clear yet.
Omuro-ariake is a variety has flowers mixed with double and single petals. This a plant with double petals. Now that the number of double petals tree is decreasing, attempts are being made to increase double petal tree.
This is flower of single petal, most common in the garden.
If you are interested in this cherry, please watch this short YouTube video.