Where To See The Best Plum Blossoms In Tokyo

 

On the busy shopping street of Kappabashi-dori: these!

Suddenly, on the busy shopping street of Kappabashi-dori: these!

It shouldn’t surprise you by now that I’m a total, total sucker for plum blossoms. I mean, up close, the flowers are much more beautiful than cherry blossoms. And you gotta admire that the damn things even bloom in the snow. I mean, they famously bloom in the snow (eight kerbillion haiku can’t be wrong.)

So, here are my favorite places in Tokyo to see them, from mid-February to March!

NEW FOR 2016!

NISHIARAI DAISHI TEMPLE

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If you’re lucky, the very early-blooming cherry tree will be dressed in pink at the same time!

Map

HAMA-RIKYU TEIEN GARDEN

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And don't be deterred if it's raining – I think the plum blossoms are at their most beautiful in the rain! (And you'll have the garden to yourself, too!)

And don’t be deterred if it’s raining – I think the plum blossoms are at their most beautiful in the rain! (And you’ll have the garden to yourself, too!)

This garden is one of the most famous in Tokyo for plum trees. As a bonus, they’ve planted a sea of yellow flowers behind the earliest-blooming trees, and it’s a favorite place for wedding photography, so you might see some brides in kimono while you’re there.

Directions & map

KYU SHIBA RIKYU GARDEN

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This is a small but exquisite formal garden, and although the plum grove isn’t large, the varieties are very beautiful. Some trees have both pink and white blooms on the same branch!

Map

KAMEIDO TENJIN SHRINE

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This temple is famous for wisteria, but it turns out they have a killer plum tree collection too. Any shrine that has “Tenjin” or “Tenmangu” as part of its name has a collection of plum trees, and often there is a red one and a white one flanking the entrance to the sanctuary.

Map

PERENNIAL FAVORITES

GOTOKU-JI TEMPLE

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This temple also has a shrine with a boatload of lucky cat figures & an awesome wooden pagoda.

Directions & map

KITANO SHRINE

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This is a small shrine near Koraku-en, but it’s really glorious in plum blossom season. As a bonus, it has a cow-shaped rack for tying your unwanted fortunes to.

Map

YUSHIMA SHRINE

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This is one of the most beautiful shrines in Tokyo, and it not only has a ton of plum trees, it has a festival to celebrate them, from Feb 6 – Mar 6.

Directions & map

KORAKUEN GARDEN

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The plum grove at my favorite Tokyo garden blooms early and often. Lots of different kinds, plus the rest of the garden is beautiful too.

Directions & map

SHINJUKU GYOUEN GARDEN

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There’s a grove of many different kinds of plum trees in the traditional Japanese garden area, by the tea house. Any time of year, Shinjuku Gyouen never disappoints.

Directions & map

UMEGAOKA PARK

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This isn’t a very scenic garden – more of a hill planted with hundreds of plum trees – but it awes by sheer volume and variety. And it’s about a three minute walk from the train station so: no excuses

Map

OKURAYAMA PARK

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This park is a bit of a schlep in the Yokohama direction, but it’s well worth it in plum blossom season.

Map

ARISUGAWA PARK

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Tucked away in Hiroo, on the highest hill in this jewel of a park, is a lovely circle of plum trees. It’s a nice place to rest and enjoy.

Directions & map

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