The second part of the series on “Three Friends of Winter (Suihan Sanyou)“ Japanese tradition
The second plant known in the Japanese tradition as one of the Suihan Sanyou “Three Friends of Winter", is the pine (matsu in Japanese). Because it stays green all year long, the pine is considered a symbol of youth and longevity and is often used in the Japanese gardens, allowed to grow naturally but with a carefully controlled shape, obtained through consecutive cuttings (niwaki).
These pines are usually solitary trees, placed to stand out, like the Hitotsu-matsu from the Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden in Tokyo, or the 600 years old pine from Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto.
But sometimes the cutting is performed in a way that conceals the human intervention, like in this photo taken inside the Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa. The only branch that looks crafted is the horizontal one, supported by pillars (similar to the pine from Shibamata Taishakuten din Tokyo).
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: