Best time to travel to Japan

Ume Blossom in Japan

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

Best time: February–March

Ume Blossom
Ume Blossom
Ume Blossom
Ume Blossom

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.

Practical info

What is the recommended time to witness Ume blossom in Japan?

Witnessing the Ume blossom in Japan is best recommended during mid-February to mid-March. The beginner blooms are in Tokyo in early February, while in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, they appear only in late February. This period generally lasts for a few weeks, but the timing may vary depending on the region. Show more

What are some popular locations in Tokyo to view Ume Blossom?

Tokyo city has several beautiful Ume tree sites, including Hanegi Park, Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, and Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens. Hanegi Park is home to several hundred Ume trees, and plum blossom is impressive at Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens provides a beautiful view of the Ume trees and early-blooming cherry trees simultaneously, making it a great sightseeing spot. Show more

Where are some Ume Blossom viewing spots in Kyoto?

Kyoto's Kitano Tenmangu shrine area, the Kamishichiken geisha district, Daigo-ji Temple, Yoshimine-dera Temple, and Shosei-en Garden are perfect places to view blooming plum trees. The Golden Pavillion area is also full of Ume trees, providing a perfect backdrop for shrines and temples. These areas are great for sightseeing and relaxing, as they provide beautiful and colorful scenery. Show more

When and where is Ume Matsuri celebrated?

Ume Matsuri is celebrated annually in Odawara city, usually in the latter half of February, to honor the blooming spring plum trees. Located against the stunning Mount Fuji, visitors can observe thousands of blooming trees around Odawara Castle. During the festival, guests can also experience traditional Japanese arts and competitions like calligraphy, tea ceremonies, and ikebana. Show more

Besides the bloom of Ume blossoms, what other activities are held during Ume Matsuri?

Visitors can enjoy additional festivities during Ume Matsuri, including traditional Japanese arts and competitions such as calligraphy, tea ceremonies, and ikebana. Tasting Ume-themed sweets and purchasing souvenirs are other activities that visitors can take part in at the festival. Many places also offer concerts and stage performances, so it's recommended to check the event schedule beforehand to take full advantage of what the festival has to offer. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin