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Best time to travel to Japan

Ume Blossom

The beautiful though often underappreciated blossom of the Japanese plum is one of the first signs of spring

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Ume blossom kicks off the Hanami season being the first occasion for the Japanese to celebrate the beautiful arrival of spring. The attraction of its gorgeous pink flowers can be observed around many shrines and temples across Japan. In the Tokyo area, ume start to bloom as early as the beginning of February, while in Kairakuen park in the city of Mito, Ibaraki prefecture, they appear only in late February. Mid-February is your best chance to spot these beautiful trees in bloom.

In Tokyo, there are many places to observe gorgeous blooming trees. One of the most massive blooms occurs every February in Hanegi Park (Umegaoka Station). This traditional Japanese garden is home to several hundreds of ume trees. Less massive blooming happens in Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens (Iidabashi Station). Plum blossom is also quite impressive in Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens (Daimon station). Here you can see beautiful ume trees simultaneously with early-blooming cherry trees.

In Kyoto, Kitano Tenmangu is one of the most famous spots for observing blooming plum trees. The Golden Pavillion area and the Kamishichiken geisha district is full of ume trees that are a perfect backdrop for shrines and temples.

Every February, Odwara City hosts Ume Matsuri, the celebration of spring plum blooms against the gorgeous Mount Fuji. There are thousands of blooming trees around Odwara Castle and plenty of entertainment like traditional Japanese arts and competitions.

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