Plum or ume blossoms signal the arrival of spring in Japan. From early February to late March, this special flower with its white, pink and red colors, flourish and blanket plum trees across the country providing a breathtaking view for local and foreign tourists alike.
For many centuries, plum blossoms have played a significant role in Japanese culture. People go to parks, shrines and temples during plum festivals (ume matsuri) to appreciate its distinct beauty and enjoy its strong and sweet fragrance.
Here are five of the best plum spots in Japan that you can visit:
1. Mito-Kairaku-en Garden (Ibaraki) - Constructed in 1842 by the 9th lord of Mito, Tokugawa Nariaki, Kairaku-en is hailed as one of the country’s finest gardens featuring over 3,000 plum trees of 100 varieties.
2. Yushima-tenman-gu Shrine (Tokyo) - Aside from being a popular shrine for students who pray for the success of their entrance exams, Yushima-tenman-gu’s plum trees make it a good place to view plum blossoms.
3. Ome-shi Plum Park (Tokyo) - The 1,500 plum trees that can be found here make it the best place for viewing plum blossoms. Its plum festival attracts many visitors every year.
4. Atami Baien (Shizuoka) - With its over 700 plum trees of 64 different varieties, a beautiful view of plum blossoms awaits you here. The earliest plum blossoms in Japan can also be seen in this famous spot.
5. Kitano-tenman-gu Shirine (Kyoto) - Regarded as the best plum-tree-viewing spot in Kyoto, Kitano-tenman-gu has about 2,000 plum trees of 50 varieties. - Florenda Corpuz
(Photographs by Din Eugenio)