Monument to Cherry Tree Planting on the Miya River Bank
Location: 2 Nakajima, Ise City
The text on the stone monument, shown on the left, is a modern translation of the original text.
It is good for the scenic beauty of rivers and streams that flowers and willow trees continue to grow and prosper. Examples from throughout Japan include the cherry blossoms of Suminoe (currently Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture), the plum blossoms of Tsukigase (Currently Tsukigase, Nara City, Nara Prefecture), and the cherry blossoms and maple trees of Rankyo (Currently Saga, Ukyo Ward and Arashiyama, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto Prefecture).
Cherry blossoms and willow trees have been planted at all three ancient ferry landing along the Miya River: the ferry landing upriver (Yanagi no Watashi), mid-river (Sakura no Watashi), and downriver (Iso no Watashi). Sakura no Watashi was the landing of ferry crossing connecting the national routes.
The scenic cherry blossoms there were withering, which saddened Yasuoka Ryosuke, a counselor in Watarai Prefecture at the time. So, he issued a request for new cherry blossoms to be planted in order to restore the scenery. He also decided to replace all the trees at the ferry landing Yanagi no Watashi with cherry blossom trees at the same time.
The villagers did not agree with his decision because they feared that uprooting the trees would loosen the soil and destroy the embankment. Yoshio Nomura, the village chief, persuaded the villagers to go along with Counselor Yasuoka’s advice by repeatedly explaining his intentions.
In March 1873, under the supervision of Counselor Yasuoka and with the cooperation of Village Chief Nomura, 350 new cherry blossom trees were planted along the Miya River bank.
Of these, 150 were of the so-called wild cherry blossom variety and were planted along the east bank near the mid-river ferry crossing, and 200 were of the so-called double cherry blossom variety and were planted along the east bank near the upriver ferry crossing.
All the cherry blossom trees that were planted have now grown large, and every year when they are in bloom, the embankment appears to be covered with white clouds and bustles with visitors.
Also, while the embankment near Suminoe was only as spacious as the empty area in Rankyo, the embankment along the Miya River was nearly twice as spacious. It is said that, in ancient times, 100 cherry blossom trees of a variety from Hishu (Hida) were planted as a trial along both banks of the Miya River.
The signboard forbidding the pruning and cutting of cherry trees features a story from the travelogue Yuto Yoroku written by Soga Taiken (a Confucian scholar from the end of the Edo period to the end of the Meiji period (1816-1870)), which states, “An elegant and refined village is not governed by a sense of caution and care” as a warning to the townspeople, whom he felt were too frivolous, to be careful.
With the efforts of Counselor Yasuoka and Village Chief Nomura in transplanting new cherry trees firmly in memory, the entire population of Ogawa Town (Currently Ise City) proposed the erection of a monument.
The writing of the inscription on the front is based on statements from the village elders.
March 1916 Inscription and seal by Oshio Toshiro, Fifth Rank, Fifth Order of Merit
Engraved by Nagata Fumiharu
Erected on January 15, 1917.
December 2021 Ise City Cultural Policy Section
Proposed by Ogawa Town Youth