Six cherry trees gifted from Japan have been planted in Margam Country Park to celebrate enduring friendship between the UK and Japan.
The six Japanese cherry trees – or Sakura in Japanese – are some of more than 6,000 of the trees gifted to the UK as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree friendship project paid for by a variety of Japanese businesses.
At Margam Country Park on Tuesday (March 22nd, 2022) when the trees were planted were the Honorary Consul for Japan, Mr Keith Dunn OBE, the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr John Warman, Neath Port Talbot Council Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees and Park Manager Mike Wynne.
The Sakura Cherry Tree Project is a legacy from the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2021 which showcased Japan’s multifaceted attractions in the UK. The season provided the opportunity to learn more about Japan, its culture and people through hundreds of events ranging from arts, sports, cuisine and performance.
The Sakura Cherry Trees will be distributed to more than 200 sites in all four countries of the UK from St Ives to Aberdeen to Londonderry, Cardiff and several of London’s biggest parks. Around 1,000 of the cherry trees will be planted in Wales.
The project was formally launched with a planting ceremony at Regent’s Park attended by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, the then Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine and Joint Chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Keisaku Sandy Sano.
Members of the public in Wales and the rest of the UK will start to witness the thousands of cherry trees blossom in spring 2022 and beyond.
All of the varieties of cherry trees to be planted as part of this project are of Japanese origin. The vast majority will be of three varieties, ‘Beni-yutaka’, ‘Taihaku’, and ‘Somei-yoshino’, which have been chosen for their variation in colour, timing, and historical significance. For example, ‘Taihaku’ is a large, single white blossom variety, which became extinct in Japan but was reintroduced to its homeland by Britain’s Collingwood 'Cherry' Ingram in 1932.
Neath Port Talbot Mayor Cllr John Warman said: “What a fantastic way to commemorate friendship between countries. The planting of these trees will be something that both present and future generations can enjoy. I would like to congratulate all of those involved to make possible such a worthwhile project.”