The Okitama region in southern Yamagata is dotted with huge cherry blossom trees over 100 years of age. The place is also known as Okitama Sakura Corridor, a famous cherry blossom viewing site. Nagai City is home to the oldest cherry blossom tree in Okitama region, the Isazawa Kubozakura. The Edo-higan tree is estimated to be 1,200 years old and a National Natural Monument. The villagers perform the Isazawa Nenbutsu Dance when the tree is in full bloom to pray for abundant harvest. The dance is comprised of 9 dance parts which are executed to the same music. The music and cherry blossoms continue to rejuvenate the people. The dance unifies the region in the midst of depopulation. This year, the cherry blossoms continue to watch over the people and their lives.
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