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During the winter months, many Japanese gardens sprout strange conical structures that rise above the trees like a crown. They are called Yukitsuri or “snow suspenders”, and their purpose is to protect the branches of the trees and shrubs from the crushing weight of snow.

There are various ways of constructing yukitsuris, but the most common technique involves erecting long bamboo poles near the trunk of the tree, and then lowering ropes from the top of the pole to be attached to the branches. The ropes prevent the branches from sagging, and eventually breaking, under the weight of the snow that accumulates on top. As many as 800 ropes can be used on a single tree.

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