Miharu is a small town in central Fukushima Prefecture. The town’s name means “three springs” and it is easy to see how it got such a name. With cherry, plum, and peach trees blossoming in spectacular displays every spring, it is almost as if spring has tripled! But the most famous of the trees in Miharu is the Miharu Takizakura tree, which is a nationally recognized Natural Monument. Over ten centuries old, the beautiful Miharu Takizakura is a flowering cherry tree that spreads out in all directions and makes for a breathtaking vista. The cascading blankets of blossoms are how this tree got the name takizakura, or “waterfall cherry tree.” It is even one of the “three great cherry trees” of Japan (along with Usuzumizakura in Gifu and the Jindaizakura in Yamanashi Prefecture). Miharu Takizakura sits in a sakura hollow in order to protect it from the elements while providing excellent drainage. The heavy boughs of the tree are supported by wooden beams and lend to its elegant form. The Miharu Takizakura begins blooming from mid-April. During the day the sight is whimsical, but visit in the evening and you’ll be treated to an almost haunting beauty as the tree is illuminated. Aside from this huge cherry tree (over 12 meters tall and 18 to 22 meters in spread), the area is also blessed with various wildflowers, including cherry and rapeseed flowers. But, of course, the Miharu Takizakura is what the annual 200,000 visitors are there to see. The view from the base of the sakura is considered to be the most beautiful and the Miharu Takizakura often ranks as the best sakura tree in all of Japan.