If you’re kicking yourself for missing the hanami cherry blossom viewing season in Japan, we have some good news for you. There are still some sakura in full bloom right now and not only are they perfect for picnicking under, they’re a rare green variety that has even Japanese people gasping in delight.

This unusual variety of sakura has an equally unusual name: Gyoikou zakura, which literally translates to yellow imperial garment cherry blossoms. The history of the name refers to the shade of green used in garments worn by aristocrats in the Heian Period (794-1185). The cherry blossom itself dates back to the Edo period (1603–1867), when it was first cultivated.


With such a regal-sounding name, many people are now going on the hunt to find these sought-after flowers.


The trees themselves are quite elusive, as the distinctive green flowers are often mistaken for fresh new leaves from a distance.


Flowering later than the Yoshino variety, these photos were taken at the end of April in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture.


Green sakura trees are scattered around Japan, and while they are best viewed at the end of April, some areas, such as Kakegawa in Shizuoka Prefecture, are encouraging people to get out and view them this weekend.


If you’re in Japan at the moment, you might want to take a closer look at the trees around town to see if you can spot any green flowers hiding amongst the branches. It’s a great way to have a brush with Japanese royalty, in sweetly succulent floral form!

Photos: RocketNews24
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