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As summer ends, there is an astonishing array of berry-bearing plants in Japan.

Although not the most visually attractive, one of the most historically and culturally important of berry plants to the Japanese … is the Cleyera japonica or Sakaki Tree.

It’s the tree that somebody hung the imperial regalia and jewels over and danced around and made a great ruckus which made the Sun goddess Amaterasu come out of her cave to look at what was going on. The leaves are important for Shrine Festivals and in Shinto rituals. “Hisaki” is the smaller sakaki version. The berries go from green to black through the winter.

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