Wahiawa’s Special Sakura Trees
by Keoni Ahlo
In the mid-1950s, around the time of statehood, Wahiawa was THE pineapple town. But that industry was rapidly fading, and Mr. Nakasone had a simple idea: To make Wahiawa a sakura town by planting sakura trees wherever anyone was willing. Today, many of the hundreds of sakura in Wahiawa trace their ancestry back to the tree that Choro Nakasone brought back from Okinawa.
In 1985, Japan’s Prince Hitachi planted cherry trees, or sakura, fronting Leilehua High School in celebration of the centennial of the Japanese immigration to Hawaii. It is said that this was the catalyst that sparked the resurgence in other community members to start planting sakura trees in their front yards. As you drive through Wahiawa, you’ll notice that there are many sakura scattered throughout the town, ranging from what looks like branches, to a tree with green leaves, to bright or pastel pink flowers. It’s quite amazing how each tree blossoms only when it’s ready!
Each year, Wahiawa native Rene Mansho takes folks on trolley tours throughout Wahiawa to visit the sakura. I recently took this tour and was very impressed! Rene was an amazing tour guide and I was able to capture some amazing photos along the way! Although the tours are over, you can reach out to Rene to reserve tours for next year. Here’s the tour info:
Cost: $20.00 for trolley ride, 5.00 Sakura Safari Bento” (optional). Contact: Rene Mansho (808) 291-6151.