The Cherry Tree at the Osakabe Hotel

by Naoko Abe

There, in a garden of a house near the Osakabe Hotel ("sah-KAH-bay"), towering above a tall wooden fence, stood a tree with narrow leaves and bunched clusters of double mauve-pink blossoms with close to 100 petals. Ingram's immediate reaction was to work out how to spirit cuttings of the tree to England.

Fate was on his side. Nineteen years earlier, on his honeymoon, he had visited this very village while hunting birds, and he remembered meeting there, a one-legged war hero whose parents ran the Osakabe Hotel.  That man, who had lost a limb during the Russo-Japanese war, was still alive, a villager told Ingram. Indeed he was now running the hotel. And his hobby was gardening! In typical Ingram fashion, he convinced the Innkeeper to send him scions from the tree in exchange for one yen to cover the postage. By 1929, a couple of sturdy offspring were growing in Benenden.
— Naoko Abe, Japanese Journalist, author, and a 2016  Nihon Essayist Club Award winner, Cherry Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan’s Blossoms, Saving the Sakura

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The Cherry Tree at the Osakabe Hotel

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