Flowers of Spring in Japan

Mar 5th, 2009 | By | Category: Events, Parks, Gardens & Nature

Spring is fast on its way to Japan and with spring comes a fascination with her flowers.  The cherry blossom season is so anticipated that there are even calendars that will tell you when the cherry blossoms will start to bloom.

The best way to celebrate the flowers of spring in Japan is to head out to a local park or garden for a stroll or a picnic – it’s a popular pastime so be prepared for crowds!

Below are some of the flowers of spring and some of the best places to enjoy them in Japan.

Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)

The 2009 cherry blossom forecast (site in Japanese) indicates that the sakura (cherry blossoms) will start blooming in Okinawa around March 20th, in Tokyo in the 25th, and in Hokkaido by April 20th.   The life of the cherry blossoms is short, only about five to twelve days, so you need to act fast and plan well to take in these blooms at their peak.

Blossom Cherry

With over 1,500 trees, Goryokaku Park in Hokkaido is a beautiful spot for a hanami party (cherry blossom viewing) as are Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Ueno Park in Tokyo.  Be sure to check out the 15 best places to see the cherry blossoms in Japan to take in these iconic Japanese blooms at their best.

Plum or Apricot Blossoms (Ume)

Blossom PlumDid you know that during the Nara period (8th century), the blossom of the ume tree was preferred over the cherry blossom?  The sakura blossom didn’t overcome the popularity of the ume blossom until the Heian period (794-1185).

Ume blossoms can range in color from almost white to a bright pink and are often mistaken for cherry blossoms.

The fruit of the ume tree, the Japanese plum is considered good luck in Japan, that is if you eat one each morning! It’s just one of the common superstitions in Japan.

Take in the Yushima Ume Matsuri in Tokyo until March 8th or the Yugawara Ume Matsuri until March 15th in Kanagawa.

Peach Blossoms (Momo)

The peach holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese is said to be useful in driving away evil.  This concept is the basis for the popular folk tale Momotaro, where a young boy is found floating in a giant peach and grows up to defeat demons.


See a multitude of peach trees at Togenkyo in Wakayama prefecture.

A visit to Japan’s parks and gardens is always an pleasurable experience but one that definitely shouldn’t be missed in spring.  Be sure to peruse our guide to the regions of Japan to find beautiful parks and gardens that you can fit into your itinerary.

Image Credit:  Personal Collection & Flickr, Peach Blossom

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  1. Lovely bokeh in the middle shot Shane :) I certainly cannot wait for Spring. I’m told that the tree I hoped was a blossom tree is, in fact, a cherry and it is only one of many along the street! Hanami party at our place!

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