While everyone is checking out the cherry blossoms, why not try something new and take in the plum blossoms of Japan, or “ume” as the Japanese call them. Blooming from mid-February to early March, these reddish, pink and white blossoms symbolise endurance and renewal and herald the beginning of spring. Travelling during this period enables you to evade the crowds that gather for the cherry blossom season.

Here are some of the best places to check out the plum blossoms:

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto

plum blossoms

The Kitano Tenmangu shrine has been known for its plum blossoms for hundreds of years. There are over 50 varieties of and around 1,500 plum blossom trees planted in the area marking the beginning of spring in Kyoto.. Every year on February 25th, Kitano Tenmangu hosts the “Baikasai” or the Plum Blossom Festival.

The easiest way to get to Kitano Tenmangu is by bus. From Kyoto Station, take the Kyoto City bus 50 or 101 and get off at the Kitano Tenmangu-mae stop.

Kairakuen, Mito

plum blossoms

Mito is famous for its plum blooms that there is a festival held  from late February to late March at the Kairakuen Garden to celebrate their arrival. People come from all over to see the beautiful landscape light up with pink and white flowers. There are thousands of plum trees in the Kairakuen Garden with over 100 varieties of plum.

To get to Mito, take the JR Joban Line from Shinagawa, Tokyo, or Ueno Station to Mito Station. From there, it’s a 30-minute walk along the edge of Lake Senba to Kairakuen Garden.

Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo

plum blossoms

This year marks the 67th Yushima Tenjin Ume Matsuri (Plum Blossom Festival), one of Tokyo’s most popular late-winter events taking place from February 8 to March 8. The Yushima Tenjin Shrine garden, holding 300 plum blossom trees is an oasis of calm in the frenetic metropolis. There are red bridges, manicured gardens, and a sense of well-being.

The Yushima Tenjin shrine is a two-minute walk from Exit 3 of Yushima Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line and is located near the Ueno Park.

The delicate blooms of the plum blossom tree are an essential part of Japanese springtime. Plum blossoms are celebrated in Japan for their beauty and endurance, they are the flower of renewal and they are sure to renew your interest in Japan!

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