Plum Blossom Countdown

All of February (and a little of March) is the best time to see fluffy pink and white and red beauties bursting like popcorn all over Tokyo. Here are the best places to see them, in order of when they bloom:

Note: These photos were all taken from 2014-2016, so depending on how warm or cold the winter has been, peak blooming can happen earlier or later by a week or so. Each plum tree blooms for about ten days, so gardens with many varieties have something to see (and take pictures of) for about three weeks around the dates these were taken.

End of January:

Kameido Tenjin Shrine near Kameido Station

Photo taken on Jan 22

Photo taken on Jan 22 • This temple has many interesting varieties of plum trees, and they bloom into the middle of February. The main shrine building is lovely, and is flanked by a venerable white plum on one side and a red plum on the other

Map

Koraku-en Garden near Korakuen Station

Photo taken on Jan 23

Photo taken on Jan 23 • This garden has a nice grove of various kinds of plum trees and is one of the earliest places they bloom. Bonus: the rest of the garden is one of the most beautiful strolls in Tokyo

Map

Beginning of February:

Nishiarai Daishi Temple near Daishimae Station

Photo taken on Feb 6

Photo taken on Feb 6 • This temple has some very nice plum tree specimens of various colors. Bonus: There is a truly eye-popping early blooming cherry tree here that’s in flower at the same time as the plums and also a wart-curing shrine.

Map

Sankei-en Garden in Yokohama

Photo taken on Jan 23

Photo taken on Jan 23 • This magnificent garden doesn’t have a lot of plum trees, but the the varieties they have are lovely. Bonus: there is a historical pagoda and other traditional buildings set around a large pond, which makes for a really nice walk, even in winter

Map

Hanegi Park near Umegaoka Station

Photo taken on Feb 9

Photo taken on Feb 9 – There are 650 plum trees of all varieties blooming at this park, and they cycle in and out of bloom for the entire month of February

Map

Gotokuji Temple near Gotokuji Station

Photo taken on Feb 10

Photo taken on Feb 10 • This temple doesn’t have a lot of plum trees, but the ones they have are spectacular. Bonus: this temple also has a beautiful wooden pagoda and is home to the lucky cat shrine

Map

Kanda Myoujin Shrine near Ochanomizu Station

 

Photo taken on Feb 10

Photo taken on Feb 10 • This shrine doesn’t have a huge selection of plum trees, but they are especially beautiful in contrast with the red and gold shrine buildings. Bonus: This is the shrine where all anime and manga artists go to pray for success, and the prayer plaques are always a random showcase of amazing comic book-style art

Map

Kitano Shrine near Korakuen Station

Photo taken on Feb 10

Photo taken on Feb 10 – This is a tiny shrine, but it’s famous for its plum trees

Map

Shinjuku Gyou-en Park near Shinjuku-sanchome Station

Photo taken on Feb 10

Photo taken on Feb 10 • The Japanese garden within Shinjuku Gyou-en has a grove of plum trees with some quite exquisite varieties. Well worth seeing

Map

Yushima Shrine near Yushima Station

Photo taken on Feb 10

Photo taken on Feb 10 • This shrine is famous for its many gorgeous plum trees, and holds a Plum Blossom (Ume) Festival every weekend in February and the first weekend in March

Map

Mid to End of February

Kyu Shiba-rikyu Garden near Hamamatsuhcho Station

Photo taken on Feb 20

Photo taken on Feb 20 • This beautiful little-known garden right next to Hamamatsucho Station has some of the most unusual plum trees in Tokyo. The grove is small, but spectacular when it’s in full bloom. Bonus: The walk around the pond has many classic Japanese garden photo spots

Map

Okurayama Park near Okurayama Station in Yokohama

Photo taken on Feb 20

Photo taken on Feb 20 • This garden has a beautiful grove with many varieties of plum trees, which start to bloom earlier than this picture was taken, for pretty much the entire month of February

Map

Beginning of March:

Arisugawa Park near Hiroo Station

Photo taken on Mar 5

Photo taken on Mar 5 • There is a small grove of plum trees at this jewel of a park, and all of them are beautiful. A fifteen minute walk from shopping-crazy Roppongi Hills, this garden is a welcome respite from the urban frenzy

Map

Hama-rikyu Teien Garden near Shiodome Station

Photo taken on March 7

Photo taken on Mar 7 • One of the most magnificent (and famous) groves of plum trees in Tokyo. I think this garden is one of the most scenic places to see them. Bonus: The trees nearest the entrance are next to a field of neon yellow flowers, which is a favorite spot for wedding photos. If you’re lucky, you’ll see kimono clad couples along with the plums

Map

Lots more photos and info about all these plum-viewing places are here: Where To See The Best Plum Blossoms In Tokyo

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