In Japan, before the cherry blossoms come the plum blossoms! Called “ume” (梅) in Japanese, plum blossoms are associated with the start of spring in Japan, as they start to bloom all around the nation in February and March. Here are 10 places that are famous throughout Japan for their incredible plum blossoms.
1. Tsukigase Plum Valley (月ヶ瀬梅渓)
The Tsukigase Bairin (Tsukigase Plum Valley) spreads along the valley of the Satsuki River that runs through Mt. Tsukigase-oyama, and contains about 13,000 plum trees. This plum-viewing haven is said to have started when plum trees were first planted in the grounds of a temple in the area around 800 years ago. On a clear day, from the very early morning until sunrise, fog rises from Satsuki River as the air cools, creating a fantastic view.
Where: Tsukigase-Nagahiki, Nara City, Nara Prefecture
Best time: Mid-March
There is a plum festival held every year from mid-February through the end of March in which visitors can enjoy events, food, and other festivities amongst the plum blossoms.
2. Kairaku-en (偕楽園)
Kairaku-en (偕楽園) is a 32-acre park known for its plum varieties, bamboo forest & monuments. It is regarded as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. It is also home to the famous Mito no Ume Matsuri (Mito Plum Festival), which has a history of over 120 years. During the festival period, around 100 varieties of plums in park seem to compete to see which can bloom the brightest in a beautiful scene that signals the coming of spring.
The Mito Plum Festival usually begins in mid-February and lasts until the end of March.
Where: Kairakuen, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture
Best time: mid-February to end of March
3. Soga Bessho Bairin (曽我別所梅林)
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