The Miharu Takizakura (三春滝桜, lit. waterfall cherry tree of Miharu) is an ancient cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima, in northern Japan. It is a weeping higan cherry (Prunus pendula 'Pendula Rosea', benishidarezakura in Japanese) and is over 1,000 years old.
It flowers in mid to late April, and its light pink flowers spread in all directions from the branches, like a waterfall.
The tree is 12 metres (39 ft) high, the trunk circumference is 9.5 metres (31 ft), the east-west spread is 22 metres (72 ft), and the north-south spread is 18 metres (59 ft).
It is classified as one of the five great cherry trees of Japan (日本五大桜) and one of the three giant cherry trees of Japan (日本三巨大桜). It was designated a national treasure in 1922. Polls frequently rank it as the number one tree in all of Japan.
Around 300,000 people visit the Miharu Takizakura every year, making it an important source of income for Miharu, which is otherwise a farming community of around 17,000 people.
The tree suffered some damage from heavy snow in January 2005, breaking several branches; residents brushed off the snow and built wooden supports to limit damage. It was unharmed by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, but in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster the number of visitors decreased markedly.
While in 2011 the number of visitors was less than half the usual amount, in 2012 visitors returned to the tree.
- This article was partly translated from the Japanese Wikipedia article "三春滝桜".
- Demetriou, Danielle 1,000-year-old cherry tree gives hope to Japan nuclear victims April 22, 2015 The Daily Telegraph Retrieved April 20, 2015
- Tabuchi, Hiroko Japan’s Cherry Blossoms Bloom, but Nuclear Fears Keep Tourists Away April 25, 2011 New York Times Retrieved April 20, 2015
- Visitors return to renowned cherry tree in Fukushima April 26, 2012 Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Asahi Shimbun Retrieved April 20, 2015
- Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima Prefecture Tourism Information