Plum blossoms, called ume in Japanese, are seasonal flowers that can be seen in spring from February to March or sometimes in winter in the month of January. Whilst the cherry blossom period lasts from 7 to 10 days, plum blossoms can be enjoyed for about a month. Below are the top five spots to view plum blossoms in Japan.
1. Atami Baien, Shizuoka prefecture
Atami Baien is a plum garden and is one of the most beautiful places to see plum blossoms. The garden has about 450 plum trees of 60 different varieties. Atami is famous for its Atami Baien Ume Matsuri (plum blossom festival), which starts on the second week of January during winter and ends in March.
2. Inabe Plum Grove, Mie prefecture
Inabe Plum Grove is located within the Inabe-shi Agicultural Park, featuring over 4,500 plum trees in 100 varieties. Plums bloom in late February through March. Inabe Ume Matsuri is held every year during this time, and in the evening, plum trees are lit up, making it a unique place to view plum blossoms.
3. Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo
Yushima Tenmangu Shrine is a historical shrine associated with the spirit of learning and is one of the top plum blossom viewing spots in Tokyo. It has approximately 300 plum trees. Bunkyo Plum Blossom Festival is held here from early February to early March.
4. Haruma Plum Grove, Gunma prefecture
Haruma Plum Grove located in Tokasaki city is Gunma’s largest plum grove with about 120 thousand plum trees. Most of the plum flowers in this grove are white. Haruna Plum Festival is held during blooming season which starts in mid-March and ends in late March.
5. Suzuka Forest Garden, Mie prefecture
Suzuka Forest Garden is home to about 200 plum trees and is characterised by its pink weeping plums. Suzuka Forest Garden Plum Blossom Festival is held from late February until March every year, and plum trees are lit up in the evenings during this season.