3 traditional Japanese ways of appreciating plum blossom
Written by aki
February in Japan is the season for viewing the plum blossoms.
plum blossom is called “Ume(梅)” in Japanese.
*Ume may also be read as “bai” in kanji combinations.
Each of these plum has its own wonderful word depending on when it blooms.
Introducing the Japanese language regarding the blooming of plum
Tanbai means “to look for plum blossoms”.
The kanji “探” means to search.
Plum blossoms begin to bloom as early as late December in Japan.
This is a way to appreciate the arrival of spring by looking for each early-blooming plum blossom.
It’s like a treasure hunt!
Shobai refers to the viewing of Plum blossom when they are at their best and in full bloom.
The Kanji word “賞” means to love and enjoy, to adore.
The plum blooming season in Japan is usually from late January to mid-February.
Soubai means to watch plum blossoms slowly fall off after they have finished blooming.
A single flower that reveals the season falls, and then spring arrives. You will feel a slight change of season.
Kanji “送” means “to send out”.Sending plum blossoms… That’s an interesting turn of phrase.
Thus, the point of plum viewing is to enjoy and appreciate the gradual changes while waiting for spring to arrive.
5 recommended plum blossom viewing spots!
Osaka Castle is famous for its cherry blossoms, but it is also a famous place for plum blossoms.
From January to March each year, visitors can see more than 100 varieties of plum blossoms, from early to late bloomers, and approximately 1,270 plum trees.
The castle and the plum blossoms, a wonderful collaboration. It is also nice that it is easy to get to from the station.
Kairakuen, one of the three most famous gardens in Japan.
“Plum Blossom Festival” is held from mid-February to around mid-March.
Kairakuen Garden is, after all, a beautiful garden.
The garden was built in 1842, so it has a lot of history.
At that time, thousands of plum trees were planted as “the place where the first spring blows”.
Atami Baien(Atami Plum Garden)
This Atami Plum Garden is famous as the earliest plum blossom in Japan.
Some of the oldest plum trees in the park are over 100 years old.
The area boasts 469 plum trees of 60 varieties, and the blooming season is sparse.
Depending on the season, Tanbai, Shobai, and Soubai can all be enjoyed.
Incidentally, Atami City has designated the plum blossom as “the flower that represents the city.
There are manhole covers depicting plum blossoms in the city. If you see one, be sure to take a picture!
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
If you want to see a collaboration between a shrine and plum blossoms, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto is the place to go.
During the plum blossom season, red and white plum trees bloom one after another.
From around early February each year, a fee-based area called “Hana-no-niwa” (flower garden) opens, where visitors can take a leisurely stroll and view the plum blossoms.
They say from the observation deck you have a 360 degree view of the garden! I’ve never been there, I wish I could.
Tsukigase Plum Grove
Tsukigase in Nara Prefecture is famous for its ume plum blossoms.
It is considered one of the first scenic spots designated by the Japanese government.
About 13,000 plum trees are grown on the vast site.
It is said that plum trees were first planted here in about 1205.It has so much history!
According to one theory, the emperor fled to the mountains near here in 1331, and a woman in his entourage taught him the art of smoking plums, which led to the cultivation of plums in this area.
Tsukigase’s plums are so famous that they are used in processed products such as plum wine(Umeshu).
I’ve already mentioned them in one of my previous blog posts, if you’re interested!