The set of dolls for Hina Matsuri, even in its most simple version (with only two dolls, Emperor and Empress), features two trees (or their respective symbols): the orange tree, always placed on the left side, and the cherry tree on the right side.
At the first glance, they seem to be just ornaments, but in fact they have a deep historical meaning: in front of the first Japanese Imperial Palace, built in 794 in Heian-kyo (today’s Kyoto), these two trees were indeed flanking the palace.
On the anniversary of 1100 years since Kyoto was established as a capital, a replica of the Imperial Palace was built in the Heian Shrine. And the two trees were also planted in front of the main building: here they are, photographed during the cherry tree’s full bloom. But the orange tree doesn’t bloom during the same period…
Click on photo for higher resolution:
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: