Taiwan // Central Taiwan //

Alishan’s red cypress trees


While the area’s cherry blossoms are indeed a moving sight, most of these trees ironically inhabit a still-visible cemetery of once-mighty red cypresses, logged by the occupying Japanese in the early twentieth century to be turned into thousands of smoothly lacquered tea tables. In place of these ancient giants, many of which were well over 2000 years old when they were felled, the Japanese planted an assortment of their cherished sakura cherry trees. Sadly, apart from taking perfunctory photos before a handful of celebrated cypress stumps, most Taiwanese tourists pay scant attention to them, instead rushing to admire the cherry blossoms in an unwitting salute to the Japanese colonial legacy.

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