When Genji journeys to the mountain to see a renowned sage, he's thrilled to get to see the mountain cherry blossoms—they bloom later than those in the city and, according to all who see them, are far more beautiful. While Genji is on the mountain, the bishop speaks of the blossoms, which according to legend bloom once every three thousand years, as a symbol for Genji himself: like those mythical cherry blossoms, someone as perfect and as regal as Genji doesn't happen all that often. From then on, the novel often conflates Genji himself with the cherry blossoms or utilizes the blossoms at times of rebirth and renewal for Genji, just as the blooming cherry blossoms signal the arrival of spring and a new year.
Cherry Blossoms Quotes in The Tale of Genji
To no Chujo was a handsome youth who carried himself well, but beside Genji he was like a nondescript mountain shrub beside a blossoming cherry.