Fantastic Early Spring Views! Seven Select Places around Japan to See Plum Blossoms
Plum blossoms bloom in early spring, signaling the arrival of spring. Although Japan is famous for cherry blossom viewings, plum blossoms are also popularly enjoyed nationwide. So this time, we introduce seven famous spots around Japan to see plum blossoms.
1. Kairakuen (Ibaraki Prefecture)
Kairakuen, which has long been a famous spot for plum blossoms, has 3,000 plum trees of about 100 varieties blooming over an area of 300ha. It is famous for the Plum-Viewing Day, held every Sunday during the annual Ibaraki Plum Blossom Festival, where you can enjoy open-air tea ceremonies and koto (Japanese zither) concerts. The plum blossoms are also lit up in the evening from early to mid-March.
Plum Festival Schedule: Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Saturday, March 31, 2018
2. Hanegi Park (Tokyo)
This is a park in Tokyo where you can see 650 plum trees of 60 varieties. The best time to see the blossoms is on Saturday, Sunday and the national holiday during the Setagaya Ume Matsuri (Setagaya Plum Festival). There are tea ceremonies with matcha green tea, mochi-making, and sales of sweets such as plum yokan and plum daifuku.
Ume Matsuri Schedule: February 10, 2018 (Sat) - March 4, 2018 (Sun)
3. Yugawara Bairin (Kanagawa Prefecture)
This is a plum forest in Yugawara Onsen, on Sagami Bay. Approximately 4,000 plum trees blossom during the Ume-no-Utage festival in early spring, covering the foot of the mountain like a "carpet of plum blossoms".
Ume-no-Utage Schedule: Saturday, February 3, 2018 - Sunday, March 11, 2018
Entrance Fee (during Ume-no-Utage only): 200 JPY (ages 15 and older, excluding junior high school students)
4. Shuzenji Bairin (Shizuoka Prefecture)
This is a plum tree forest in Shuzenji Onsen on Izu Peninsula with 1,000 plum trees of 20 different varieties. During the Ume Festival, when the plum blossoms are at their height, the 30,000-square-meter hills are covered with plum blossoms. One of the appeals of this location is the view of plum blossoms with Mt. Fuji in the background.
Ume Festival Schedule: Saturday, February 10, 2018 - Sunday, March 4, 2018
5. Atami Baien (Shizuoka Prefecture)
This is a plum tree garden in the popular onsen town of Atami that has 472 trees of 59 varieties. It is famous for its plum trees that blossom between late November and early December every year, earlier than anywhere else in Japan. At the Plum Festival in early spring, when the blossoms are at their peak, there are footbaths and souvenir shops.
Plum Festival Schedule: Saturday, January 6, 2018 - Sunday, March 4, 2018
Entrance Fee (only during the plum festival): 300 JPY/general (100 JPY for anyone staying at an accommodation in Atami City), free for junior high school students and younger
6. Kitano Tenmangu (Kyoto Prefecture)
This is a shrine built in honor of Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of scholarship. There are approximately 1,500 plum trees of 50 varieties that have connections with Michizane planted around the 66,000sq.m. grounds. The Plum Garden is opened up during the peak of the plum blossom season so that visitors can see a variety of plum blossoms, ranging from white ones to red ones, as well as those with one layer of petals and those with multiple layers of petals.
Plum Garden Schedule: Early February to late March
Plum Garden Entrance Fee (includes tea and a sweet): 700 JPY/adult, 350 JPY/child (junior high school students and younger)
7. Dazaifu Tenmangu (Fukuoka Prefecture)
This is another shrine that honors Sugawara no Michizane. It has approximately 6,000 plum trees of about 200 varieties on its premises. The best time to see the plum blossoms is usually between late January and early March. On February 25, there is a Baikasai festival in which Shinto priests place plum blossoms into crowns and offer these, along with other offerings, to the deity. There is also a famous sacred tree called Tobiume (the flying plum tree). Legend has it that the plum tree flew to Kyushu from Kyoto to be with Michizane. It is the first tree to start blossoming each year at this shrine.
The spots introduced this time are all places you'll want to visit during the plum blossom season. Visit them and enjoy the fragrant aroma and beautiful colors of plum blossoms!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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