If you are planning to Japan in early spring to see beautiful plum blossom, then you should know the best ume spots that are scattered across Japan. I don’t miss visiting my favorite ume spots that I usually visit every year.

Let me introduce my favorite plum blossom spots here, they are: Yoshino Baigo, Soga Bairin and Atami Baien. Are you interested in knowing these famous plum blossom spots? Ok, I think you are, and here I have a very little request to you, that before you proceed, please read about Japanese plum blossom.

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Light Pink Plum Blossoms in Japan. Photo Credit: su neko at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

I know how wonderful it would be when you see Japanese plum blossom in different locations across Japan. Everybody would agree with me that cherry blossom season is the best season to enjoy picnicking underneath sakura trees. Though a lot of people enjoy it in the early springtime.

Yes, this is what I do with my friends sitting underneath plum trees and smelling the sweet fragrance of colorful blossoms.

Let’s find out the top 10 plum blossom spots that are highly recommended to immerse yourself in the world of Japanese plum blossoms with no restrictions.

1) Atami Baien (Plum Garden), Shizuoka: 

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Pink Ume Can Be Seen in Atami Plum Festival. Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Atami Baien is one of the most beautiful places in Japan to experience the beauty of plum blossom.

Atami is very famous for its Hot Spring resorts. A day trip to Atami would be more than an amazing experience, if you visit it during the Atami Baien Ume Matsuri. The festival lasts for two months, that usually starts from the second week of January through March.

Home to about 450 plum trees of 60 different varieties, this picturesque garden is not only a great place to see ume, but also for its footbaths. Besides, there are five beautiful Japanese garden bridges over the Hatsu-kawa river. These bridges and the blossom will delight you very much. Every year, a lot of visitors come to see ume and experience the festival.

2) Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo:

White plum blossoms at the shrine grounds. Photo Credit: pelican at Flickr.

Yushima Tenjin shrine is one of the top plum blossom spots in Tokyo. In fact, it is a good message for those who usually live in Tokyo. You won’t have to go far away from your house to see delicate ume in the early spring.

The shrine plays an important role in Japanese culture, especially when it is time to enjoy spectacular plum blossoms. With its approximately 300 plum trees, this place never disappoints!

This shrine is associated with the spirit of learning. Students come here to pray for their success in their college entrance exams. It has become a great tradition for them.

If you want to join in, then you must get here from February 8th to March 8th. Actually, the shrine is dedicated to a well known scholar, plum blossom lover and historical figure deified as a Shinto god of scholarship called Sugawara-no-Michizane (845-903).

Enjoy your time viewing ume and buying traditional Japanese arts as souvenir for your friends and family to bring home

3) Koishikawa Korakuen, Tokyo:

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Plum Blossoms in Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Located in Koishikawa district, Koishikawa Korakuen is an edo period (1600-1867) Japanese garden, which is Tokyo’s oldest and best Japanese garden in Tokyo city.

It has a pond, bridges, stones, plum trees, maple trees, cherry trees and manmade hills. All these things would surly make you fall in love with this stunning garden.

Visitors here can take a leisurely stroll along the garden trails, and enjoy the blossoms. This is one of the best garden, where locals and tourists alike can pay a visit to all year round. In fact, every season has its own seasonal beauty to impress you.

The best to see plum blossoms here is in late February.

4) Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, Kyushu Island, Fukuoka:

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine Plum Blossoms. Photo Credit: redlegsfan21 at Flickr.

Danzaifu Tenmangu Shrine is a famous place since the great Japanese scholar Michizane was buried here. This shrine is dedicated to him. He was exiled here in Dazaifu on Kyushu Island from Kyoto. This is known as the largest shrine in Fokouko prefecture.

The shrine is located over the grave of Michizane Sugawara in Dazafu, south of Fokuoka city. Extensive collection of plum trees can be found here. There are approximately 6,000 plum trees of 197 different species. They bloom in late February through mid March.

Would you like to see a legendary plum tree (The flying plum tree) which is located on the right side of the main hall? Indeed it is a legend because it flew from Kyoto to Dazaifu to reunite with Michizane.

5) Odawara Castle Park, Soga Bairin, Kanagawa:

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Beautiful Plum Blossoms, Soga Bairin, Odawara. Photo Credit: skyseeker at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Odawara Castle Park and Soga Bairin host a famous plum blossom festival called “Odawara Ume Matsuri in early February. The festival lasts for a month.

The land of Soga has approximately 35,000 white plum trees, on the other hand, the Castle ruin park of Odawara Castle has about 250 ume trees.

Soga-Bairin is one of the best places to see the Mount Fuji summit here in Japan. During the festival, visitors can enjoy their time seeing various cultural stage performances.

What to do and see during the festival? You can take part in the plum pit spitting contest. Actually, there is a number of things to do and see, they are as follows:

1) Horseback Archery (Yabusame) Performance
2) View Lantern dance (Chochin Odori) and Lion dance (Kotabuki Shishi-mai)
3) Poetry reading
4) Outdoor tea ceremony
5) Eat Ume-boshi (pickled plum)

A visit to this garden in early spring can give you an experience of a lifetime. Want to know more about the festival? Then visit here.

6) Mito Kairaku-en garden, Ibaraki Prefecture:

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Pond and Plum Blossoms in Kairakuen Garden, Mito. Photo Credit: vera46 at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Located in Mito city, Kairaku-en is considered one of the three most beautiful and famous landscape gardens in Japan along with Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, and Koraku-en in Okayama.

So visiting this famous garden during Mito’s plum blossom festival will be a great idea for sure. From this garden you can also view beautiful scenery of green forest and lake. You must count on this!

This picturesque garden is actually located on a hill of Mito and there you can fine approximately 3,000 plum trees of 100 different varieties. How cool is that!

When all these plum tress are in full bloom, the garden hosts a famous plum festival, called Mito Ume Matsuri. The festival begins every year from February 20 to March 31.

7) Hanegi Park, Setagaya:

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Beautiful Red Plum Blossoms in Hanegi Park, Setageya. Photo Credit: Yuki Shimazu at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Every year, from late February through early March, Hanegi Park hosts Setagaya Ume Matsuri. Locals of Setagaya feel very proud of being a host city of this exciting ume festival.

The park is located on the side of a hill, not far from Umegaoka Station, just head towards the west side from the station and you will reach there. If you don’t find it, then I suggest you to ask locals, they will show you the right direction.

The park grounds are covered with more than 700 plum trees. They do offer a perfect spot for viewing Ume in February. The Ume Matsuri is held here over the weekends and holidays. This is because people have a free time to participate in it with each other in harmony.

8) Yoshino Baigo, Ome, Tokyo:

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Yoshino Baigo Plum Grove! It is Beautiful. Photo Credit: Yoshizumi Endo at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Yoshino Baigo (Plum Village) is Tokyo’s one of the best ume spots I have ever visited in my whole life. To reach this spot, you have to go to western frontier of Tokyo city. It is located between the Tama River and the Yoshino mountains in Ome city.

From JR Ome Line Hinatawada Station, you have to walk for 15 minutes but if you want to visit this from central Tokyo that will take 90 minutes.

Yoshino Baigo Ume Matsuri begins in late February to end of March. Many cultural events such as drumming, dancing and parade including small selling stalls are seen during the festival time.

There are about 25,000 plum trees of 100 different varieties. Red, white, pink and yellow colors ume blossom would surly blow your mind. You can go down from the top to bottom of the hills viewing those delicate pink and white plum blossoms.

All these plum trees were not planted at the same time. Often said, this park is not an ordinary one because it has a 300 year old plum tree. Would not you like to see it? If you would like to see it then come here in March!

Attention please! The park is closed now since all the ume trees were cut down. They were all infected by the plum pox virus. The authority is trying to make a new ume grove here and it will take many years to make it perfect just like it was before for viewing ume blossoms.

9) Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto:

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Plum Blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto. Photo Credit: Chris Gladis at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Plum blossom at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is so inspiring. Kitano Tenmangu is a famous shrine not only in Koyto, but also all over Japan.

It is considered one of the most important of several hundred shrines across Japan that were actually built for showing respect to Michizane Sugawara. So it’s obvious that those hundreds shrines were built to commemorate this famous scholar of Japan.

Built in 959, Kitano Tenmangu has more than 2,000 plum trees that were planted many years ago. Students often visit this shrine to pray for their success in their studies or before exams start.

Baikasai (a tea ceremony) is held here during the plum blossom festival. Geisha and Maiko host baikasai under the plum trees.

Every year, the shrine is open to public to view the beautiful plum blossoms from February 10th. Want to know more about this hilarious ume matsuri? Read it here.

10) Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Minato, Tokyo:

Beautiful display of ume! Photo Credit: Takuya ASADA at Flickr.

You can visit a number of traditional gardens in Tokyo and Kyu Shiba Rikyu is one of them. Here plum trees spread out on the grounds of this oriental Japanese garden.

This thoughtfully designed garden has a pond and man-made hills including spectacular walking trails. Honestly, the Koi pond looks great with those plum blossoms. Take a good photo shoot of nature you see over there. Everything in the garden seems to you very calm, quiet and marvelous.

Tokyo is a bustling city, but to get the taste of Tokyo’s old tradition and atmosphere, you must visit this Ume spot. Before plum trees start blooming here, you can see winter cherry blossoms. That is called “Jugatsuzakura”. It is a rare sakura variety and they bloom only in the winter.

Are You Coming To See Plum Blossom?

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Maiko at Kitano Tenmangu Ume Matsuri. Photo Credit: Chris Gladis at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Don’t miss this season if you are free from work and school. I think, visiting Japan in early spring would be a great idea for you and your family. In fact, you can find some Tokyo tour packages that include one of these exclusive Tokyo’s plum blossom spots and festivals.

As most of Japan’s best plum blossoms spots are located in Tokyo, you can gladly visit its must-see attractions alongside visiting the ume spots described above. Thank you.