Sakuya is the tree spirit found in the Konohana tree planted in Kamiki Village. She summons the goddess Amaterasu to save Nippon once again after it falls into darkness.
May the fresh scent of flowers protect you always!Sakuya
Once the world had gone dark after Susano pulls Tsukuyomi from the Moon Cave, Sakuya appears. She quickly summons the goddess Ōkami Amaterasu from the statue of Shiranui. Amaterasu then explores the River of the Heavens, regaining some of her lost abilities, and eventually slashes the fruit down from the Konohana tree to save Kamiki Village. Afterwards, Sakuya informs her of the Guardian Saplings found all across Nippon, and asks Amaterasu to restore them to their natural beauty to strengthen her power.
Sakuya is seen in brief intervals, never really providing too much information, until she is seen after Mr. Orange performs the Konohana Shuffle. Sakuya appears, rejuvenated and intoxicated, and gives Amaterasu praise. She is seen again at the Kamiki Festival, outside the Konohana tree after Orochi is vanquished thanks to Amaterasu and Susano. She appears yet again when Amaterasu goes through the Spirit Gate in Yoshpet, as a young Wood Sprite "Shakuya". Her young appearance is parallel to the a tiny sapling that is Konohana itself. Sakuya is also seen at the end of the game, holding Issun as he becomes the new Celestial Envoy.
Sakuya makes an appearance in the sequel when Chibiterasu and Issun make their way to Kamiki Village, finding that Shinshu Field has been cursed along the way. When they first arrive at the Konohana tree, Sakuya mistakes Chibiterasu for his mother, and is told by Issun that the wolf before her is actually Amaterasu's son. She immediately takes a liking to Chibiterasu, and the pup starts playing with her, completely ignoring Issun's order to "give her a good bite". At this time Sakuya's tree is struck by lightning and split in half, and she is wounded, her powers weakening dramatically. Issun tries to use Rejuvenation to repair the damage, but is unable to. Chibiterasu then barks at the stars, sad about Sakuya, when a constellation is revealed. Using the Celestial Brush, Chibiterasu manages to conjure the children of Yomigami, who granted Chibiterasu the power of Rejuvenation. He uses this power to repair Konohana, restoring some of her power. Later, Chibiterasu and Kuni encounter a young girl crying for her mother's stolen mirror, and once the team manages to bring it back to her, she reveals herself as Sakuya, explaining to them she only wanted to test the duo's skills and that she apologizes for the hassle. Blooming Sakuya's Guardian Saplings is again an important part of gameplay. Near the end of his journey, Chibiterasu travels 100 years into the past. He blooms her sapling in the same area in Kamiki Village and as he does so, he encounters the young version of Sakuya, whom when asked, will call herself Shakuya.
Sakuya, despite being more than 100 years old, looks like a rather young woman. She is fairly tall, and accompanied by a purple aura. Early in the game, she wears a pink kimono with peach shaped cutouts that reveal the top of her chest, her back and her rear. She also wears a thin purple wrap that floats around her and appears to be made of mist. Once the sacred tree of Konohana is rejuvenated, she wears a leaf-like "bikini" and pale pink skirt.
Young "Shakuya" wears an attire almost identical to her older counterpart's, but is much smaller and chubbier, due to being a child. One thing that has remained the same about Sakuya, old and young, is her hair style: her long black hair is tied at the back with two strands parting to the sides at the front of her face, her purple earrings, and the two pairs of leaves that cover her breasts and the other pair found in her hair.
Sakuya is at least 100 years old, proven when visiting her village 100 years ago. At a young age, she used to have a lisp and would pronounce her name as Shakuya, a trait she seems to have outgrown. She is very smart, and has a strong influence over all of Nippon, although admittedly her power has diminished over the years due to the fact that she spent most of her time protecting one given area. Once she feels the darkness of Orochi spread across, she uses quick wits to summon Amaterasu back to life.
- Issun stole a portrait of Sakuya from his grandfather, and showed it as his own.
- Since Sakuya was affiliated with Konohana, she was designed with a "peachy" motif, especially her breasts and rear.
- According to the game designers, Sakuya was to have a third form when she was at her most powerful toward the end of the game in which she wore no clothes but was covered only by strategically placed puffs of mist. The idea, however, was cancelled by Atsushi Inaba, but concept art of this form can be found in the Ōkami Official Complete Works and the in-game "Present from Issun" bonus section.
- Sakuya's name probably comes from the Japanese word "Saku", naturally meaning "to bloom".
- Although the Guardian Saplings are extension of Sakuya, she never manifests herself at any of these offshoots, but only at Konohana in Kamiki Village.
- Her name is also likely a reference to Konohanasakuya-hime, an important kami who is believed to prevent Mount Fuji from erupting, and the embodiment of the fleeting transience of human life, as her marriage to the god Ningi-no-Mikoto was said to have made human lives as beautiful yet fleeting as the flowers.
- As certain scenes in Ōkamiden would seem to imply, like the markings and Divine Instruments that are on Amaterasu and Chibiterasu, most can't see or hear Sakuya.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Princess Sakuya:
It was decided early on that Sakuya would have a certain peachy motif, and as such we not only gave her breasts a peach-like appearance, but also her bum as well. I remember that Kamiya loved it and gave it the okay right away. We had also prepared "level 2" and "level 3" looks to go with the progression of the game, where she would become increasingly undressed but understandably, the proposed level 3 design was vetoed by Inaba...too bad. We had designed the top of her head to look like the Divine Tree, and at one point implemented it into the game, but the idea was not used in the final product. I imagined it inflating when she got angry. The idea of Shakuya came about rather suddenly, but she was a joy to both create and draw."—Mari Shimazaki (Encyclopedia of Ōkami Concept Works, p.115, Ōkami Official Complete Works)