Destination Spotlight

Japan's Oldest Waterfall Sakura

Japan's Oldest Waterfall Sakura

Cherry blossoms in Fukushima Prefecture can be enjoyed over a long span of time from late March through early May because of the variation in climate across the wide distances between the east and west. One area particularly famous for cherry blossoms that features a number of famous trees is Miharu, which boasts more than 10,000 cherry trees. Take a trip to Miharu, the town of cherry blossoms, to experience springtime in Japan.

Countless tourists visit Miharu every year from mid to late April to view just one single cherry tree.

The tree that draws these crowds here is known as Miharu Takizakura, a tree over 1,000 years old and one of the three most famous cherry trees in Japan. Designated a National Monument, this massive Shidare Zakura (Cerasus spachiana f. spachiana) that reaches 13.5 m in height and 11.3 m in girth was given its name 'Takizakura' ('cherry blossom waterfall') because the cherry blossoms that bloom from its long, hanging branches seem to flow like a waterfall.

Unlike many other popular cherry blossom spots where one views entire groves of cherry trees, visitors come here to stand in awe at the singular beauty of this one great tree. This vision of countless cherry blossoms wrapping the hanging branches that spread in all directions is simply beyond words. The tree continues to awe innumerable visitors from both inside and outside Japan.

The name 'Miharu' is comprised of the Chinese characters for the phrase 'three springtimes.' The origin of the name stems from the fact that here, the Japanese plum, peach, and cherry trees, which normally bloom one after the other, instead bloom all at once, causing three different periods in springtime to happen at the same time.

The town of Miharu fully embraces springtime when the cherry blossoms bloom on top of the already blooming plum and peach trees. Takizakura lives on as a symbol of the town as an elder statesman that has watched over the land for over 1,000 years. The unfurling of its blossoms augers the arrival of spring and the coming to an end of the severe cold of winter. Visitors celebrate the coming of spring and share their joy together.

Once Takizakura blooms, the night view of this spectacular tree become bathed in lights. Thus both the sight of the tree in day time soaking up spring sunlight, and the sight of its bewitching beauty that seemingly floats against the sky in the evening, are worth seeing.

Another great thing about Miharu is that one can view numerous famous cherry blossom locations and trees in a single trip if traveling by car. Takizakura is itself located closeby from other famous ancient trees, such as the 400 year old Jizozakura, said to be Takizakura’s daughter, and the 350 year old Fudozakura, said to also be a descendant. Come to Miharu Town to enjoy the grandeur of these cherry trees, and make sure to prepare your camera.

Cherry trees only display the beauty of their blossoms for but a fleeting moment each year. The blossoms bloom at once for a brief time, and before long the petals fall to the ground. Make sure to check online for the latest information on the timing of the cherry blossoms before making your trip to Miharu. Also check out this page for information on reaching Miharu Takizakura.

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    Heroes and Kaijyu Adventures in Japan

    Inside each of us there is a struggle. Call it what you want: Light vs. Dark... Good vs. Evil... Hero vs. Kaijyu... There comes a day when you must decide, which are you? I visited Sukagawa City in Fukushima prefecture to delve into this concept a bit more. Why Sukagawa City? Sukagawa City is the home town of Tsuburaya Eiji, the creator of Ultraman and a co-creator of Godzilla. He came to be known at the “Father of Tokusatsu,” or, the “Father of Japanese special effects.” His post war work on the Godzilla film of 1954 brought him international success which allowed him to create more science fiction films featuring different monsters, or kaijyu, as well as the internationally popular Ultra-series! Today, Tsuburaya Eiji’s legacy lives on in his hometown where his heroes and monsters roam the streets! With this in mind we set off on our adventure! Eating our heroes... You are what you eat? Or are you conquering the enemy by eating them? You decide… My first stop was the Tamakiya Bakery in Sukagawa City where you will find a wonderful family owned and operated small business. Decorated with Ultraman related memorabilia. The creativity of the (now adult) kids of the family shines through in the various Ultraman and Kaijyu related breads and cookies! Each one is absolutely delicious. I recommend stocking up for your adventure, if there is one thing that heroes and kaijyu have in common, it is that they must eat to stay strong and battle ready! I ate a Kanegon chocolate bread, and suddenly the money in my pocket started looking like a.. snack?? Kanegon is a kaijyu who is known to eat money! Oh no, have I absorbed his powers? It’s impossible to say. Somehow, I managed to contain my dark urges.   Doing some research Suddenly it became clear that there was a lot that I still don’t know about Ultraman and Kaiju. So, I walked over to the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum to conduct some important research.  The museum has a lot of interesting information about Eiji Tsuburaya’s life and accomplishments, various kaijyu, heroes, and the filming of classic sci-fi and kaijyu related movies. There is even an original Godzilla suit on display! As you walk around the room, you may feel the eyes of Godzilla following you. Perhaps he is eyeing you up, trying to decide if you are an ally, or a delicious snack. Please tread lightly. There is a video exhibit and an interactive exhibit that turns you into various Kaijyu and heroes. There is also a station where you can create your own original Kaijyu, unfortunately this exhibit is temporarily suspended, however, it will hopefully be up and running again soon.   Having important discussions with IRL heroes and Kaijyu When you walk the streets of Sukagawa, you’ll never walk alone. Kaijyu and Heroes line the streets causing trouble and cleaning up said trouble. I recommend stopping and having a chat with these monsters and heroes to get some diverse perspectives on good and evil. I sat and spoke with Kanegon for quite a while, and we even discussed our struggles with wanting to eat money.   Channeling my hero energy Next we stopped by the Sukagawa Enobori Yoshinoya Workshop to create an Ultraman banner. It was so cool to experience the use of these traditional banner making techniques in a place with so much historical significance. As I admired my new Ultraman banner, I thought, maybe I am a hero after all.   The final test Next we headed over to the Sukagawa Tokusatsu Archive Center! Succumbing to my true nature and terrorizing a small town. Ultimately, the sight of an unprotected town brought out my worst instincts. I almost went full KAIJYU mode. Fortunately, my coworker is a hero, and he saved the town! After our battle, we explored the various miniature exhibits and classic special effects tools on display. We were also able to watch a short film and then a video about the special effects that were used to create that short film. It was really incredible, and made me want to try to make my own miniatures at home. If you are interested in sci-fi or classic special effects, then I highly recommend checking out the Sukagawa Tokusatsu archive center! You won’t be disappointed. Contact us through email or through our social media channels if you have any questions or need help planning a trip here! ©円谷プロ Published 2022/06/10

    Heroes and Kaijyu Adventures in Japan
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    5 things to do in Aizu Misato Town

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    5 things to do in Aizu Misato Town
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    Fishing at Aquamarine Fukushima

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    Fishing at Aquamarine Fukushima
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