During the Edo period (1603-1867), eating beast meat was taboo in some cultures.
Nevertheless, meat was a valuable source of protein and a welcome treat.
Therefore, restaurants served meat to their customers by using a secret word on their signboards.
Plant names were often used.
A deer is a maple leaf
Wild boar is peony
Chicken is Kashiwa (oak)
Horse meat is said to have come to be called sakura (cherry blossom).
There are various theories as to why it is called sakura,
The reason is that when horse meat is cut into pieces and exposed to air, the red meat turns a faint cherry reddish color,
There are also several theories, such as the fact that a horse ranch under the direct control of the Edo Shogunate was located in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, which is why horses were called sakura (cherry blossom).
There is also a theory that spring, when cherry blossoms bloom, is the season when horse meat becomes tasty,
As the Chinese say, “Horse fattening autumn” is the season when the beast is most fatty and tasty,
However, as there is a Chinese saying, “Horse grows fattier in autumn,” I feel that this may be a misleading theory, considering that the best time to eat horse meat is in autumn, when the forests are rich in fruit.