Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yukitsuri- "Snow Suspension"

Yukitsuri at the school I work at, Isurugi Elementary

"Yukitsuri", the pyramid shape structure that the locals here use to protect the tree branches from the heavy snow, is instantly recognisable from the many Kanazawa tourist brochures advertising the towering 30ft ones in the Kenrokuen (gardens). In fact I had seen pictures of yukitsuri before I had a clue what they really were let alone they had an important purpose.

About 2 weeks ago on my walk to school I noticed these contraptions suddenly popping up everywhere, in peoples gardens and then at school. Bless the school gardener! He spent an entire week prepping the trees on the school grounds with the yukitsuri structures. I think its admirable that they go to such lengths to protect their prized trees and shrubs. It's no surprise that bosai trees originated in Japan having seen this sort of display.

Apparently the art of "yukitsuri" isn't Japan wide, its only common here in Ishikawa Prefecture and Toyama Prefectures. Apparently we get a lot of "heavy wet snow" in these prefectures and these structures are essential to support the tree branches. I can't comment yet as it hasn't started snowing YET although its getting VERY cold!

Yukitsuri at the Kenrokuen, Kanazawa

Yukitsuri at the Kenrokuen; see my other post for pictures but I have to mention this. I read in the Japan Times that it takes the gardeners at the Kenrokuen around 2 hours on average to put up one yukitsuri frame and for the largest trees in the Kenrokuen, the Karasaki pines, it takes a full day.

Amazing. I look forward to seeing the yukitsuri doing its job in January!

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