10 Hometowns for Each - Takumi Nasuno Photography
Local Revitalization
Announcement of my Entry to 6th Fukushima Sakura Photo Contest with the Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono

It is always hard to find a critical meaning in one action. Yet, if I dear to find a critical meaning there, it invites responsibility and resolution. Life is tough.


*This screenshot is from the NHK official website.


I decided to challenge to the 6th Fukushima Sakura Photo Contest held by NHK. This is my third challenge to any official photo contests, and is my first challenge other than that of Tanagura Town.

I do not usually participate in photo contests because the purpose of my photography is simply not in that direction. I believe that photography as an art must always be with its own story, and photographers must describe their own stories with their own photography. I participate in any photo contest only when I find the critical meaning why I should challenge to that photo contest.


This April, I visited Tanagura Town and shooted this photo.

It was the moment when the weeping tree unexpectedly appeared from the dark night.

The Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono is not illuminated at night. However, the tree has a big possibility of becoming a great illumination spot because there is no light and obstacles nearby. I happened to shoot this photo, and I hope this will make you visit Tanagura Town some day. (Quoted from my post on April 15, 2017)


The Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono is famous for its water reflection. And if you try to shoot the Weeping Sakura tree and the pond together, the sun rises from the very nice location in the morning in spring. This is why almost all the photos of the Weeping Sakura tree is with the pond, and many of them were at dawn or in the sunrise time.

But sad to say, this stereotype has been limiting the great possibility of the Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono since its true uniqueness lies not in the water reflection.


I strongly believe that the three points below describe the true uniqueness.

  • Unspoiled nature (There is no props or any other artificial obstacles.)
  • No off-limits (There is no fence. You can approach it, walk around and under it, and touch it.)
  • Potential skycapes (It stands on the steep high ground and allows us to look up the wide sky from its bottom.)

The Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono is said to be over 100 years old. There are lots of old Sakura trees in Fukushima Prefecture, but such an old Sakura tree with the three unique points above is, I think, only here. Thanks to them, there is a wide range of potential locations, positions and angles for great photos here.


However, at the same time, we must note that these uniquenesses are available because this Weeping Sakura tree is not that popular like that of Miharu. (You can find lots of awesome photos by googling "miharu sakura".) Once the Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono got famous and popular like that of Miharu, it would be with fences and props and any other noisy decorations, and with a huge crowd of people...

As one mere nature photographer, and as one local revitalization activist who is a bit involved in this town, I do not like that outcome. Yet I hope that there must be a better way for Tanagura Town to take advantage of this tree for its sake. If I win the contest, this must become a big turning point for Tanagura Town to re-discuss how they treat the Weeping Sakura tree of Hanazono hereafter.

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