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!

I am a total, total sucker for plum blossoms. The flowers are much more beautiful than cherry blossoms up close, and you gotta admire that the damn things even bloom in the snow. I mean, they famously bloom in the snow (thousands of haiku can’t be wrong.)

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

NEW FOR 2018!

JINDAI BOTANICAL GARDEN

This gorgeous botanical garden has a really nice grove of plum trees

Plum trees aren’t always particularly pretty, but look at this shapely beauty!

There are some varieties at Jindai-ji I haven’t seen elsewhere, like these variegated pretties

And of course there are plenty of the favorites

This fabulous botanical garden is about a 10 minute bus ride (or a pleasant 25 minute walk) from Chofu Station, and it’s well worth the trip! Bonus attraction: it’s bordered by the Jindai-ji temple, with an old-fashioned shopping street featuring lots of soba noodle restaurants.

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IKEGAMI HONMONJI BAIEN

This hillside garden at Ikegami Honmonji temple is all plums, and even though it’s not a huge garden, when they bloom, it’s glorious

There are many beautiful varieties…

…including unusual specimens that have more than one color of flower on the same plant

The weeping ones are especially nice

But even the ordinary trees are lovely

Ikegami Honmonji temple has an entire garden dedicated to plum trees, with nice thatch-roofed teahouses situated among them.

Admission: ¥100

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…and the perennial favorites

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.

Admission: Free

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GOTOKU-JI TEMPLE

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

Admission: Free

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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.

Admission: ¥300

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HANEGI 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

Admission: Free

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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.

Admission: Free

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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.

Admission: Free

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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.

Admission: ¥300

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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!

Admission: ¥150

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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!

Admission: Free

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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.

Admission: Free

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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.

Admission: ¥200

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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.

Admission: Free

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