Plum and Cherry flowers in Japanese Gardens

It is the end of February and we already hit the time of plum blossom with only one month left until famous cherry blossom season starts!

Today I want to introduce some gardens, which hosts great plum and/ or cherry trees!

The early blossoms of plum trees are very underestimated in my opinion. When the plums start to bloom it is the first sign that winter will soon be over. Only one more month to go!
Plum blossoms come in a variety of pinks and white. The one I like most, just as by cherry, is a light green one!
Plum blossoms have a very fragrant scent, unlike cherry. Another very special sight gives plums in snow. Yes, plums bloom that early that it happens to snow while they are in full bloom!

Gardens with nice plum trees or orchards:

Kairakuen in Mito
This garden hosts one of the most famous plum blossom spots throughout Japan.

Sankeien in Yokohama
All around the pond and beneath the pagoda are plum trees.
There is a four-week long plum festival every year.

Koishikawa Korakuen in Tokyo
Here we find an orchard with a great variety of plums.
eBook of Koishikawa Korakuen is available here

Mukojima Hyakkaen in Tokyo
Once hosted over 300 plum trees! Today there are only a few remaining, but is still a nice spot for viewing their flowers.
There is an „Ume matsuri“ festival and they have a flower calendar on their website.

Kyu-Furukawa teien in Tokyo
Only a small plum orchard here, but this garden is always worth a visit!

Kyoto Imperial Palace
There are over 500 trees of plum on the grounds and it is far less crowded that famous plum shrines in Kyoto.

Nijo-jo in Kyoto
On its grounds is a small plum orchard with pink and white flowering plum trees.

Tenryu-ji in Kyoto
There are only two interesting plum trees in Tenryu-ji, but you will see a lot of other flowers as well. You might be lucky to not only enjoy camellia, wintersweet and Japanese quince, but also an early flowering cherry tree!

Ryoan-ji in Kyoto
Around the pond of Ryoan-ji (this temple is not only about the rock garden!) are 80 plum trees, which give a touch of colour here and there.
eBook of Ryoan-ji is available here


Of course the cherry blossom is very much better known than the plum blossom. And yes, it is really great to stand under a whole sea of pink!
I guess most visitors to Japan know the Japanese term for cherry – sakura – because it is this famous.
There even are several tools to help being in the right area of Japan on the right time to see the sakura at full bloom.
This is really helpful, because only one spring storm can destroy all the beauty in a few hours.

The Japanese Weather Association releases a map with a real forecast of where in Japan the full bloom will be on what day.

Japan Guide shows the status of the sakura. Are the flowers already open? A little open? or in full bloom?

Both are very helpful tools when it comes to plan a sakura trip.

In which gardens the cherry blossoms can be enjoyed I will list below:

Kenrokuen in Kanazawa
This famous garden has some very nice flowering cherry trees.
Average time is Mid April.

Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo
Next to Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi, Shinjuku Gyoen is the most famous spot for cherry blossoms in Tokyo.
During hanami season (when people picnic under the trees) it is very crowded.
Average time is Early April.
eBook of Shinjuku Gyoen is available here

Rikugien in Tokyo
A very famous cherry tree is the weeping cherry in Rikugien. When it is in full bloom and there is the light up event, people are waiting for hours to get into the garden.
Average time is Early April.
eBook of Rikugien is available here

Koishikawa Korakuen in Tokyo
There is not only a plum orchard on the grounds of Koishikawa Korakuen, but also some very great cherries.
Average time is Early April.
eBook of Koishikawa Korakuen is available here

Nijo-jo in Kyoto
The very same with Nijo castle in Kyoto.
But here the trees are not flowering all at the same time! The impression will not be that of a vast ocean of pink.
Average time is Late March – Mid April.

Ninna-ji in Kyoto
Here we find a late flowering variety of cherry. If you missed the other ones, this temple might be a chance to still enjoy sakura.
Average time is Early April – Mid April.

Shosei-en in Kyoto
A lesser-known garden is Shosei-en of Higashi Honga-ji.
Here you might be able to enjoy some cherry blossoms without crowds of tourists.
Average time is Early April.

Kyoto Imperial Palace
A lot of cherries are sprinkled all over the grounds of the Imperial Palace. You will not only find normal but beautiful trees, but also weeping cherries.
Average time is Early April.

Ryoan-ji in Kyoto
There is a weeping cherry tree, which hangs its flowering branches over the earthen wall inside the rock garden.
This flowering tree is a popular photo scene.
Average time is Early April.
eBook of Ryoan-ji is available here

I hope you will be able to visit some gardens during either of this two seasons! Feel free to share your garden pictures in the comments or on our Facebook page!


~ The pictures above do not stand in any connection to the mentioned gardens. ~

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