Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cherry Blossoms

For more than a thousand years, the Japanese have adored cherry blossoms.Numerous cherry trees gracefully dot the Japanese isles.You don't have to travel very far to come across one of the 300 or so varieties grown here.Each flower usually has five petals that are notched at the edges, although some varieties have many more metals.The color of petals range from nearly white to pink and even crimson.

The Yoshino Mountains have been renowned for white cherry blossoms.This area has four large groves with over 100,000 cherry trees.One section is called Hitome Senbon, meaning "a thousand cherry trees at a glance".

The first wave of delicate blossoms begins in the south of the Japanese archipelago, in Okinawa, during January and continues progressively northward to Hokkaido until late May.This movement is also known as cherry blossom front or sakura-zensen.

A unique illusion of pink snow is created when the cherry sheds its myriad of petals.Suddenly, without warning, the petals leave the bough and gracefully fall to the ground. The Japanese call this phenomenon sakura fubuki or cherry blossom blizzard.The ground below becomes covered with a delightful pink carpet.

Flowering cherry trees can be easily be produced from seedlings.Thus, cherry trees have been planted along riverbanks and main thoroughfares as well as in numerous parks and gardens throughout in Japan.

Although Cherry-Blossom viewing is a national obsession throughout Japan, Kyoto is perhaps one of the best places for viewing this pageant. With its beautiful temples, gardens and surrounding scenery, Kyoto is the perfect backdrop for the splendor of the cherry-blossoms.

photocredits: nationalgeographic.com,sonic.net,counterpop.net,khulsey.com