A few years ago, when I was living in Ireland, we had a Japanese friend who was Japanese (“R-chan”) and she knew a lot about Cherry blossoms. It was spring in Ireland and we saw some cherry blossoms in the neighborhood around Blackrock.
Until then, I always thought there was only one kind of “sakura” cherry tree (桜), but she explained that in Japan there were many varieties of Sakura, and they don’t all bloom at the same time.
Since this is cherry blossom season in Japan (and Seattle), I found this very helpful article by Japan Guide that shows the different species of Sakura and when they bloom. It’s interesting that not all Sakura have 5 petals, and some bloom at unusual times such as in Autumn.
Also, some particular sites are so famous that the trees even get their own name. For example, this is a cherry tree in Gifu Prefecture:
The tree is called usuzumizakura, named after Usuzumi Park. The tree has been around for 1500 years, and was planted in the year 467!
For most people, the type, origin or age of sakura blossom doesn’t really matter. People just enjoy having picnics under cherry trees or taking photos. That’s probably all that matters anyway. 😉
For me, cherry blossoms are also great because they really embody the Buddhist teachings of impermanence and appreciating the moment, too.