Originally introduced from China, the Japanese plum (梅, ume; sometimes referred to as Japanese apricot) has played an important role in Japanese culture for many centuries.
Plum blossom or Ume no hana (in Japanese)
The plum is associated with the start of spring, because plum blossoms are some of the first blossoms to open during the year. In the Tokyo area, they typically flower in February and March.
Most plum blossoms have five petals and range in color from white to dark pink.
White plum blossom
Light pink plum blossom
Dark pink plum blossom
Dark pink plum blossom
Some varieties with more than five petals (yae-ume) and weeping branches (shidare-ume) have also been cultivated.
Best places to see plum blossom in Japan
Top 1 Kairakuen, Ibaraki prefecture
LOCATION: Tokiwa-cho, Mito-shi
CONTACT: Kairakuen garden conrol center TEL:029-244-5454
HOURS: 6:00 to 19:00 (February 20 to September 30)
7:00 to 18:00 (October 1 to February 19)
FEE: Main garden: free ( elementary and junior high school students: 100 JPY)
Kobun-tei: 190 JPY
CLOSING: No closing days
ACCESS: 15 minutes by bus from Mito station
Top 2 Osaka castle park (Osaka jo koen)
Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園 Osaka-Jō-Kōen?) is a public urban park and historical site situated at Osaka-Jō in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan. It lies on the south of the Ōkawa (Kyū-Yodo River) and occupies a large area in the center of the city of Osaka. This park is second largest park in the city.
In spring, cherry blossom and plum blossom viewing is popular at this park.
Osaka Castle, not far from Kansai International Airport. You can arrive at the castle in one hour by expressway. The castle opens early at 9:00 am. When you visit the castle in the morning, you will have enough time for the Osaka City sightseeing in the afternoon. It is easy for planning. And Osaka is close to Kyoto and Nara, and gives you good access to the cities.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] About 2 hours and 30 minutes to Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 13 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Osaka-jo Koen Station via JR Osaka Station
From Osaka :
[Rail] 18 min from Tennoji to Osaka-jo-koen Station by JR Loop Line.
Top 3 Kitano Tenmangu shrine, Kyoto
Kitano Tenman-gū (北野天満宮?) is a Shinto shrine in Kamigyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Kitano Tenmangu shrine
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮, Kitano Tenmangū) is one of the most important of several hundred shrines across Japan that are dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, a scholar and politician who was unfairly exiled by his political rivals. A number of disasters were attributed to Michizane’s vengeful spirit after his death in exile, and these shrines were built to appease him.
The night view is also beautiful
* Address: Bakuro-cho Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
* Tel.: 075-461-0005/ FAX: 075-461-6556
* Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00（on25th of every month: 7:00?21:00)
* Access: City Bus Stop Kitano-Tenmangu-mae (from Imadegawa Subway Station/Keihan Railway Demachiyanagi or Sanjo Stations/Hankyu Railway Shijo-omiya Station) or a 5-minute walk Keifuku Railway Hakubai-cho Station
* Parking: Free parking for 50 buses and 350 cars
* Website: http://www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp/eigo/index.html
You can see plum blossom in Tokyo too!
Shinjuku Gyoen national park
Plums of Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑の梅) are very beautiful. There are about 350 plum trees. There are two Japanese style gardens with plum trees.
JR Keio Odakyu lines : Shinjuku sta. “south exit” (10min. walk)
Seibu Shinjuku line : Seibu shinjuku sta. (15min. walk)
Marunouchi line : Shinjuku gyoen mae sta. “Exit1” (5min. walk)
Admission fee : 200 yens
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Admission until 4:00 p.m.)
Closed : Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, Tuesday will be closed)