• Culture
  • Miyazaki

Yunomiya Zaronbai

"Tastes of JAPAN by ANA" is a regional vitalization project that collaborates with the different prefectures in Japan to present the Land of the Rising Sun in all of its diverse glory.

Sitting and talking under plum trees: A place where people have gathered from ancient times to the present day

Yunomiya Zaronbai is a nationally designated as a Natural Monument in Shintomi Town, Miyazaki Prefecture. Zaronbai is quite an unusual-sounding word in Japanese, what led to this peculiar name? There are a few theories, and the leading theory holds that the name dates back to Edo period, when the Sadowara domain and the Takanabe domain disputed over the ownership of this garden. "Za" means "seated" and "ron" means "talked over", people seat and talked over, leading to the name Zaronbai. It has a quite an elegant atmosphere, and you can imagine how serious the conversation used to be here. If you visit during plum blossom season, you can enjoy a stroll around the surroundings and imagine scenes from the Edo period, like how a banquet may have unfolded.

The tree’s trunk and branches running along the earth are like a dragon!

The Zaronbai trees are said to be 600 years old. It appears in a song written by Tadahisa Shimazu, 6th lord of the Sadowara Domain (ruled from 1690), so it is said that there must have been a plum garden in this area from at least the early Edo period.

The most distinctive feature of Zaronbai is that it is a Garyobai type of plum tree. Its sideways spreading branches resemblance to a dragon lying prone. This is what it gets its name from ("garyo" means "reclining drag"). It is said that the original tree aged and collapsed, and roots sprouted from it, spreading new stems around it. It is said that there are around 45 ancient trees that grew naturally.

The place where Emperor Jimmu stuck a cane in the ground still takes center stage today

In the middle of the plum tree garden, there is a stone slab called “Motokihi.” This is where it is said that Emperor Jimmu stuck a cane made of the wood of a plum tree into the ground, on the way to Mimitsu (present-day Hyuga City) as part of his eastern expedition.

Yunomiya Shrine is across from Zaronbai, and beneath it there are the remnants of a tub Emperor Jimmu is said to have taken a rest in. Zaronbai is said to have sprouted from the cane Emperor Jimmu stuck into the ground after taking a rest here. It’s quite a mysterious tale, isn’t it?

Plum Blossom Festival held during February, the best time to see Zaronbai

Every year in February, the local residents gather to hold a "Plum Blossom Festival". On the stage, children perform traditional kagura and dances, and there are also performances of Japanese traditional buyo dancing and tai chi. There are also tents selling famous local goods such as soba noodles, chicken rice, and sweet red bean soup. There is an area for open-air tea ceremony built into the grounds, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cheerful spring day.

Location

Name Yunomiya Zaronbai
Web Sites (In Japanese) https://koyu.media/?p=714
Address Nyuta, Shintomi-cho, Koyu-gun, Miyazaki
Access Approximately 15 minutes' drive from JR Hyuga-Shintomi Station
Inquiries TEL: 0983-32-1082

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