Ishiwari-zakura is a magnificent cherry tree that grows from a large crack in a giant granite boulder. It sits right in front of the Marioka District Courthouse – a 15-minute walk from JR Morioka station. Measuring approximately 1.35m wide, the tree is said to be more than 360 years old!
Designated Japan’s National Treasure in 1923, it is well-loved by locals in the city. In fact, it even got a treatment by a tree surgeon in 2000 because its tree vigor (meaning its capacity to survive in threatening conditions) declined for the first time in 50 years.
Like other cherry blossoms in the Tohuku region, it looks the most glorious in mid-April, when it’s in full bloom. Stunning as it is in the day, a truly spectacular sight awaits at night, when the tree lights up.
There are even tasty cream cracker sandwiches named after Ishiwari-zakura, and you can find them in JR Morioka station, Marufuji, a 72-year-old Japanese sweets shop, as well as many other souvenir shops in the city.