Kishu or Shimpaku?

Over the years, this post discussing differences among Itoigawa, Kishu, and Shimpaku junipers has consistently one of the highest-viewed of the nearly 350 posts over the 5-year history of the blog.  Kishu and Shimpaku are tricky to tell apart by their foliage, so here is a refresher…

Kishu left, Shimpaku right.  

Kishu is plumper in texture, tighter in growth pattern, and brighter green in color.

Shimpaku is slightly thinner in texture, “ropier” growth pattern, and paler green in color.

Here is another look at the runners.  Kishu first:

Shimpaku next:


2 thoughts on “Kishu or Shimpaku?

  1. Shimpaku is a cover all term for all chinensis varieties in Japan. Essentially meaning ‘juniper’. Both kishu and itoigawa as well as all the other varieties get called shimpaku. For example you might get told to grab ‘that shimpaku’ which happens to be an itoigawa variety.

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