• JAPAN IN FOCUS

Group Plants Cherry Saplings at Historical Park in Nagano Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Volunteers plant a cherry sapling in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture.

CHIKUMA, Nagano — A local volunteer group spruced up a historical park in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, by planting 75 cherry saplings earlier this month.

About 50 members of the group for the environment of Shinano no Sato Historical Park planted 50 Edohigan cherry saplings, 20 Jindaiakebono cherry saplings and five Jugatsuzakura cherry saplings.

The Flower Association of Japan donated 70 of the trees.

Someiyoshino cherry trees were not selected due to their susceptibility to disease and short life spans.

Carrying shovels brought from home, the members split up to work on 12 areas around the park’s Ariakeyama Shogunzuka and Mori Shogunzuka mounds. They carefully planted the saplings, tied supporting bamboo poles with wire, and finally sprinkled soil and water on them.

About 30 of the 120 trees planted last year died without taking root, so the volunteers also planted trees where the dead ones had been removed.

“Many children participated in the tree plantings. I hope the trees will bloom magnificently when they grow up. Eventually, we would like to make this park a famous cherry blossom spot,” said Takefumi Ogawa, 71, acting chairman of the group.