Firstly, cherry blossom trees were not originally native to Japan, but were rather brought to Japan during the Nara period (710 – 794). Most experts on this topic speculate that the cherry trees actually originated in the Himalayas. Even though Japan is famous for ‘sakura’, cherry blossom trees exist in many countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Secondly, there is not just one type of cherry blossom tree, but rather there are hundreds. In fact there are over six hundred kinds of cherry trees throughout the world (over two hundred in Japan alone), each with different shaped and colored petals. The period of time in spring in which they bloom can also vary as well.
The most common type of cherry tree in Japan is called the ‘Yoshino cherry’, and its petals are the pale pink variety. ‘Yamazakura’ is another popular variety, with a paler, whitish-pink flower. They are most often found in mountain areas and on hillsides. The flowers of the ‘Kawazuzakura’ are larger than most, and a bright pink color. Many of these can be seen along the Izu Peninsular.