Plum (Ume in Japanese) blossoms bloom in February and early March, before cherry blossoms flourish at the beginning of spring.
|Plum blossoms in Mito|
As I mentioned in the last post, I’ll introduce Mito, a city located above Tokyo on maps. Mito’s Ume Festival is famous for its large beautiful Japanese gardens full of plum trees.
Inside of Tokyo, Yushima-Tenjin Shrine near Ueno and Akihabara is famous for plum blossoms. It is a very popular shrine in Japan, famous for its plum trees and making a wish to pass an exam.
And I’d like to suggest this place in Tokyo City.
It is time to talk about the big festival in Mito.
The very main plum blossom spot is Kairakuen Park, but I have one place that I definitely want to recommend.
This is the entrance for Kodokan, a house that was samurais’ school.
|Entrance Gate of Kodokan|
They sometimes hold a Japanese tea ceremony in English for international people.
http://kodo-kan.com/english/ (I hope its international page will be constructed soon!)
Personally, Kodokan was as amazing as Kairakuen below.
The most famous Ume spot in Mito is Kairakuen-Park, which is called “one of the best Japanese gardens in Japan”. The large garden was built by Nariaki Tokugawa, a samurai, in 1842 and has 3000 plum trees of 100 kinds.
He also built Koubun-tei, a house for Japanese tea ceremonies, and invited important people there. (190 yen for adult, 100 yen for child to enter Koubun-tei)
It was badly damaged by East Japan Earthquake in March, 2011, but now it has repaired to its original beauty.
If you are a tourist who expects to see exotic architectures, a samurai movie fan or a Bleach (a popular manga) fan, I believe these pure Japanese houses will attract you so much.
I recommend checking your socks when you visit them because you need to put off your shoes to enter. The flooring is cold in winter (it’s my experience there!), so warm socks without any hole are fine.
It will be even more beautiful when it becomes full-blooming and when it’s more sunny. I’m happy if you enjoy my photos!
How to Get to Mito
The simplest way is to take JR Joban Line from Ueno to Mito. (2268 yen for single ticket/2 hours)
If you are going to Mito, it’s a good idea to find a packaged train ticket or short trip from Tokyo at a travel agency, because it’ll be a great saving.
In 2014, Mito Plum Blossom Festival is held 20 Feb – 31 March. According to their website, 660 trees out of 3000 are blooming on 28 Feb.
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