Plum blossom or Ume is a delicate flower that starts to bloom in mid February in Japan. Whether you believe it or not that Tokyo is home to some of the most impressive plum groves in the country. It is just incredible to see their utmost beauty out there while you still keep counting the days of coming a new hanami season.

It is true, the word “Hanami” is associated with cherry blossom viewing but in the old days during Nara Period (710-794), it was referred to plum blossoms. So literally, hanami custom had begun with plum flower viewing in between late winter and early spring.

Pink Ume!! See how beautiful it is. Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr.

Whether I am on a bench in a park on a late winter’s morning or walking along the garden path, I love getting lost when gazing at the colorful ume. Here, certainly the park and the garden path that I have mentioned are assumed to be a perfect place to enjoy plum blossom.

If you are planning to visit Tokyo from late February through mid March, make sure you are well familiar with these 7 of the best Plum Blossom spots in the city. The parks and gardens that I am going to feature here are worth a visit for their outstanding performance on producing colorful plum blossoms. They are simply the best! I hope you enjoy reading it.

1) Hanegi Park, Setagaya

Hanegi Park plum blossoms. Photo Credit: kanegen at Flickr.

Hanegi Park is known as one of the best places in Tokyo to view plum blossoms. It is located in Setagaya ward. The park is home to nearly 700 plum trees and hosts Setagaya Ume Matsuri for a month, usually from early February to mid March. Please note that if you plan on visiting Tokyo in early February, check out this suggested itinerary.

It is obviously a great place to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the blossoms. If there’s one place that inspires me to walk along the garden trails and travel at the same time, it’s Hanegi Park. I just love the festive atmosphere there in which you can eat, participate in outdoor tea ceremony, and watch the traditional Japanese music events.

2) Koishikawa Korakuen, Bunkyo

Ume in Koishikawa Krakuen garden, this is absolutely sensational! Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr.

There is nothing great except visiting Koishikawa Korakuen in early springtime. It is truly a great nature’s masterpiece! I love the way it was designed and people who visit this garden would agree with me. Its impressive garden design reminds you once again that why it is said to be one of Tokyo’s best and oldest Japanese gardens of all time.

Ume start to bloom in mid February, this indicates that you would witness their delicate beauty in late February. In fact, that’s their full bloom period. The first time I visited the garden, I was just excited and amazed seeing a great piece of beautiful nature arena in the heart of Tokyo.

The smell of plum, the chirp of birds, and stunning ume are the great sign of arrival of spring. And all these things can be experienced here!

3) Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Bunkyo

Plum blossoms at Yushima-Tenjin. Photo Credit: kanegen at Flickr.

Have you ever heard of Bunkyo Ume Matsuri (Plum Festival)? Often it makes me think of something that is quite unique and adorable festival to experience in Tokyo. Yes the festival takes place at this shrine grounds.

During the festival, many students visit the shrine and pray for their success in their college entrance exam. It is nice not just for being part of the festival but also walking around the shrine and view hundreds of plum trees.

It is actually dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, a plum blossom aficionado, poet, politician, and famous Japanese scholar of the Heian Period as well. Walking in there is like stepping back in time. Obviously, you won’t meet Michizane there but ume (plum blossom) that he did really adore. Hopefully, you won’t mind reciting the following part of a classic poem written by him

“When the east wind blows, flourish in full bloom, you, plum blossoms!

Even though you lose your master, don’t be oblivious to spring.”

4) Hama Rikyu, Chuo

Pink Ume and Skyscrapers in the background at Hama Rikyu. Photo Credit: Brian Wood-koiwa at Flickr.

If you have already started to look at what beautiful places you would like to visit this year in Japan then you may think of visiting a gorgeous looking Japanese landscape garden. Can you figure it out? That’s Hama Rikyu!

It is a cool destination for a real Japan enthusiast. When late winter rolls in there, a part of the garden begins to sparkle as the plum grove itself gets busy displaying beautiful ume to garden’s visitors.

It is a large garden compared to another beautiful Japanese landscape garden named Kyu Shiba Rikyu. It would be pretty amazing to see ume there alongside exploring the typical landscape garden’s elements. If you are traveling Hama Rikyu, be sure to walk along the strolling paths and enjoy the scenery it offers throughout the year.

5) Kyu Shiba Rikyu, Minato

Plum blossoms in Kyu Shiba Rikyu garden, Minato. Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut at Flickr.

Kyu Shiba Rikyu is one of Minato’s best sightseeing spots. As I noted before that the garden is smaller than Hama Rikyu but it does not mean it is overshadowed. It is a highly recommended place to travel to in all seasons, especially in summer and early springtime though.

There is an important travel tip to share with you – visit both Hama Rikyu and Kyu Shiba Rikyu gardens on a day single trip because they are quite adjacent to each other and takes a few minutes’ walk.

Although plum blossom can be seen at Hama Rikyu, getting a nice view of stunning Japanese landscape garden along with ume here is particularly breathtaking. Don’t think that they look similar to each other; instead try discovering them separately.

You will see both pink and white blooms on the same branch. How cool is that! I am sure there is nothing better than relaxing with friends and family as you take a leisurely walk along the garden trails.

6) Ikegami Baien, Ota

Ikegami Baien plum grove in Ota, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Littlelixie at Flickr.

Tokyo is one of the top bustling cities in the world though finding a park to breathe clean air in the city sounds quite possible and easy. The city is blessed with small and large public gardens and parks around it.

They make it possible to find a lush green place to relax and enjoy glorious seasonal beauty in all seasons. Ikegami Baien, a beautiful place to lost your soul and home nearly 370 plum trees of 30 different kinds.

Once you visit it, you would realize why it is referred as one of the best plum blossom viewing spots in Tokyo. When I got there, I saw some people walking around the garden and enjoying their time staring at the ume trees. Not many foreign tourists have known about this secrete place which in fact is filled with variety of flowering plants and shrubs including ume.

7) Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Shinjuku and Shibuya

White plum blossoms at Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Takashi .M at Flickr.

Shinjuku Gyoen is renowned for being one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. Also visitors enjoy seeing cherry blossom in spring and autumn leaves in fall. However it never disappoints you any time of year you take a trip to this beautiful park. So don’t you think it has something to charm your life in late winter as well?

It is said that there are approximately 300 plum trees in this park. That sounds pretty awesome! Instead of visiting Kamiedo Tenjin Shrine, I would highly recommend you to get to this park because it is spacious, and comprises three different types of gardens. No doubt this famous park has a contribution to fill the Tokyo air with pleasant fragrance from early February through mid March.

These are the best ume viewing spots of Tokyo. There are other places around the city that welcome thousands of plum blossom fanatics every year but these 7 spots has been chosen to be the finest ones. The weather during this season is chilly so you need to wear a warm jacket. Have a wonderful time!