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Japan friendship blossoms as 100 Sakura cherry trees arrive in Derbyshire

Published: 17 March 2021

With spring just around the corner, Derbyshire is set to blossom this year with the arrival of 100 new Sakura cherry trees.


Councillor Tony King helping to plant a cherry tree with Chaucer Junior School pupils
Our Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration Councillor Tony King (left) helping to plant Chaucer Junior School’s Sakura cherry blossom tree with pupils Grace (left) and Charlotte (right) and the school’s Community and Gardening Ambassador Kerry Wheatley.

We bid for the trees through the Sakura Cherry Tree Project as part of our Toyota City Partnership to celebrate Japan’s friendship with the UK.

The partnership includes:

  • Derby City Council
  • South Derbyshire District Council
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK and other educational, economic and environmental organisations

In 2019, all three councils celebrated their 20-year twinning partnership with Toyota City in Japan.

The trees will be planted across Shipley Country Park, Cadley Park in Swadlincote which is within the National Forest and Bass’s Recreation Ground in Derby.

More than 5,000 Sakura cherry trees will be planted in parks and public spaces nationwide as part of the project.

Schools across Derbyshire were also invited to apply for their own Sakura cherry tree and more than 50 were successful across the county including our Virtual School and Lea Green Learning and Development Centre.

Our Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration Councillor Tony King said:

“These new Sakura cherry trees not only represent our great friendship with Japan but they are also a signal that brighter days are coming after a very tough year for everyone.

“We’ve built a strong relationship with our friends in Japan and our ongoing commitment to work together to improve our educational, cultural, environmental, economic and sporting links continue to grow.”

The trees are being funded through donations from the Japanese private sector. 

Leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Chris Poulter said:

“Cherry blossoms are very eye catching and a beautiful flower. Having had the pleasure of viewing them in their countryside setting it is obvious to me why they play a massive part within Japanese culture.

“The addition of a small part of their culture to our City will look stunning and bring a wealth of colour. I’m really pleased we’re able to be part of such a positive partnership with Toyota City and celebrate our continued friendship with Japan.”

Councillor Kevin Richards – Leader of South Derbyshire District Council said:

“Having a strong binding friendship with Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK and having personally visited various sites in Japan to see the Cherry Blossom forests, it is a beautiful and remarkable sight, day or night. To receive gifts of cherry blossom trees (Sakura) is a great honour for the District Council.

“These trees represent a symbolic flower of spring, a time of renewal and the fleeting nature of life. Their blossom is very short, and their beauty peaks around two weeks and the blossom begins to fall. Cherry Blossom in Japan denotes the time to share time with friends and colleagues and enjoy life – a beginning of good times.”