Gyoiko – the Unique Yellow-Green Cherry Blossoms that are Hard to Spot

essay, Apr. 2019


Pale yellow at first, yellowish green at full bloom, and deep green at the last.

There are such unique cherry blossoms that change color as they bloom: “Gyoiko.”

Unlike the usual, famous pale pink cherry blossoms called “Somei-yoshino” that you can see almost everywhere thorough Japan, places to see Gyoiko are limited, and not so many locals even know about it.

However, Gyoiko is a tourist destination for those who want to enjoy the short cherry blossom season more and deeply.

So, many people visit Kitayama Pond Park in Niigata City every year to see the beautiful color change of Gyoiko. However, there are a lot of people who miss them, saying “Omg, I couldn’t find them!”

“Excuse me, where can I see Gyoiko?”

When I visited Kitayama Pond Park again this year, I saw some people who could not easily find Gyoiko. They seemed lost and asked me for help, even though I was also a tourist.

Each time I was asked, I guided them and pointed Gyoiko with a finger saying “this is it.” Then they all shyly smiled and told me “Oh, I didn’t notice it, surrounded by normal cherry blossoms!”

Did I think “Haha, they are careless?”

No, I’ve never thought about that, because I was exactly the same before.

There are only a few trees of Gyoiko at Kitayama Pond Park, which are all surrounded by fully-blooming Yaezakura, bright pink cherry blossoms as if pink pom-poms would be sprinkling at the top of branches.

My eyes got caught by such gorgeous cherry blossoms and couldn’t find Gyoiko.

In those moments, “predecessors” helped me to find Gyoiko. They kindly smiled and said, “I understand. I also didn’t notice them.”

When you travel, sometimes you don’t notice what you want to see or find, even though it’s in front of your eyes, or you can’t find it even though you are looking for it desperately.

Everyone except me could have found it. But I could be the only one that still didn’t find them. You might think that way, and hesitate to ask others. But, don’t be embarrassed.

If you get some courage and step out, your eyes will be filled with such beautiful green cherry blossoms.

There is a Japanese idiom meaning “it is reassuring to have a companion when traveling, and it is also important for us to care for each other as we pass through this life.”

Unlike people today with Internet, people in old times traveled with more danger and little information. So, travel companions and locals who guided them would be very important, and encountering people on the trip would be very precious.

Today also, even though there is much information on the Internet about travel destinations, still, the last ones to help and guide you on the trip are people around you.

And, Gyoiko brings people together like the travel in old times, by its elegant color and amazing color changing.

I found Gyoiko because others taught me, so I help others in the same way. And, you’ll be the next one to find and teach others.

Kitayama Pond Park, Niigata
Official website for more Gyoiko photos (Only in Japanese)
Google Map
Peak season of Gyoiko: The end of April to the beginning of May

Niigata is one of the best travel destinations for tourists who want to enjoy sake(Japanese alcohol), sushi and winter sports!
For more information, visit the official website.

Other places to see Gyoiko:
Shinjuku Gyo-en
Hama Rikyu Gardens(Google Map)
Tokyo Imperial Palace
Showa Kinen Park(Google Map)

Kyoto Gyoen
Hirano Shrine(Google Map)
Ninna-ji Temple(Google Map)

Japan Mint Cherry Blossom Viewing(Google Map)

…and more!

written by


Freelance writer and photographer.

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