All The Great Cherry Tree, the Oldest Sakura in Teramachi

The Great Cherry Tree, the Oldest Sakura in Teramachi

The massive Great Cherry of Shogetsuji Temple in Teramachi Kanazawa

Sprawling onto the main road in Teramachi is the Ōsakura-no-Shōgetsuji, or the “Great Cherry at Shōgetsu-ji Temple,” a four-century old monumental cherry tree.

Yamazakura blossoms, the flowers of the mountain cherry variety The white blossoms of the yamazakura, or mountain cherry, in Teramachi, Kanazawa

This massive yamazakura, or mountain cherry, blooms a few days later than other sakura varieties, with large white flowers. The blossoms of this tree can open as wide as 5 centimeters! Unlike the pinker yoshino cherry, this variety also grows its red and green leaves alongside its spring blossoms.

The Great Cherry at Shogetsu-ji Temple grew through the temple walls The Great Cherry at Shogetsu-ji Temple grew through the clay temple walls

The Great Cherry at Shogetsu-ji Temple was originally transplanted from Komatsu Castle by the 3rd Lord of the Kaga Domain, Toshitsune Maeda. (He was the son of Toshiie Maeda, the first Kaga Lord for whom the Hyakumangoku Festival is dedicated.) It has since grown clean through the temple’s surrounding clay wall. Warning signs have to be put up as the sakura tree protrudes out onto the sidewalk. It’s been said to knock horsemen off their steeds in the Edo era.

Despite it's sprawling growth pattern, the tree is carefully protected from snow and gravity. From within the temple walls, you can see the massive trunk of this protected sakura cherry tree.

Despite it’s apparent injuries, it’s heavily protected and blooms every year. The marker indicates that it has been designated a National Natural Treasure of Japan.

When your temple's cherry tree photobombs your temple name

Neo-Confucianist scholar and official of the Tokugawa shogunate, Muro Kyūsō, wrote two of his poems in honor of the tree after having seen it here at this temple.

Though the cherry tree only blooms one week per year, the mark of the sakura inside the temple gate is a year-round reminder

The metal seal inside the temple gate reminds visitors of the sakura’s cherry blossoms even outside of the blooming season.

5-5 Teramachi, Kanazawa
Ōsakura-no-Shōgetsu-ji and Shōgetsu-ji Temple are 1 km from Kaname Inn Tatemachi.


Half a decade ago Ryann fell off a bus and then fell in love with this traditional-crafts and ice-cream-consuming capital of Japan. Editor and amateur photographer with a penchant for nature and history. Not actually fifty songbirds in a trench coat.