Everybody is talking about how amazing the Japanese cherry blossoms are but there are so many more Japan spring flowers to marvel at. It’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Actually, the flowering season in Japan starts in February with peach flowers and you can easily see flowers until November. Here’s which Japanese flowers to see in spring so you won’t miss any of the Japanese flower festivals during a 2 to 3 week trip to Japan.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Japanese Spring Flowers: Plum
- 2 Japanese Spring Flowers: Narcissus and Rape Blossoms
- 3 Japanese Spring Flowers: Cherry Blossoms
- 4 Japanese Spring Flowers: Tulips
- 5 Japanese Spring Flowers: Azalea
- 6 Japanese Spring Flowers: Wisteria
- 7 Japanese Spring Flowers: Peony
- 8 Japanese Spring Flowers: Pink Moss Phlox
- 9 Japanese Spring Flowers: Nemophila
- 10 Japanese Spring Flowers: Lilac
- 11 Japanese Spring Flowers: Iris
- 12 Which Japanese Spring Flowers Should You Visit?
Japanese Spring Flowers: Plum
As early as late January, you can find Japanese plum trees in bloom. Did you know that the famous hanami was originally dedicated to the plum blossom? Only later, sakura trees took over in popularity. You can see Japanese plum (ume) until late March. Try one of Japan’s most beautiful parks, Kairaku-en in Ibaraki Prefecture. There are 3000 plum trees here!
To stay in Tokyo, take a stroll through Hanegi Park or Kyu Shiba Rikyu for Japanese plum trees. The latter one isn’t a typical Japanese garden as it is very heavily influenced by oriental gardenscaping. If you’re lucky, you can even see jugatsuzakura, winter cherry trees. Other locations for plum trees in Tokyo are Yushima Tenjin, Koishikawa Korakuen, Ushi-Tenjin Kitano Shrine, Shiba Park and Odawara Ume Matsuri.
The former capital of Japan, Kyoto, also boasts its own plum festival. It is called Kitano Tenmangu and is located at a Shinto shrine, close to the famous Golden Pavillion and the Kamishichiken geisha district. The shrine is dedicated to scholar Sugawara Michizane, who is associated with the god of education. If you are studying for an exam, come here for extra luck! .Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash
Japanese Spring Flowers: Narcissus and Rape Blossoms
Typical Japanese spring blossoms are also the wonderful narcissus flowers. You can find entire meadows of them at Hitachi Seaside Park, a little off of Tokyo. While you are there, admire the fields of Japanese rape blossoms as well.
Japanese Spring Flowers: Cherry Blossoms
It goes without saying but the Japanese cherry blossoms are a major attraction for visitors to Japan in spring. All over Japan, the cherry is blooming greatly, with the South seeing blossoms open in mid April and blooming late in the North, until early April. Late blooming sakura can still be seen in late April throughout Japan. You can see cherry blossoms in Japan both day and night, with pink lanterns strung between trees for nightly illuminations.
There aren’t actual festivals for the Japanese cherry blossom season as hanami are celebrated with friends and family. Grab a blue picnic blanket and try to find a spare spot underneath major chery blossom spots. Most people visit Tokyo’s hanami, such as Chidorigafuchi, or various Kyoto’s cherry blossom spots.Photo by Ivan Gromov on Unsplash
Japanese Spring Flowers: Tulips
Again, one of the best spots to see Japanese tulips in bloom is Hitachi Seaside Park. During your visit, you will be able to see other Japanese spring flowers in bloom, such as nemophilia or rape blossoms. Stick to the West end entrance to get closest.
If you want to get the Dutch feeling of rows upon rows of tulips, check out Tonami Tulip Park in Toyama. Stand in the midst of 2 million tulips in a myriad of colours. The park shows quirky gardening skills with lots of patterns and a comic-style tulip tower.
Tulips are quite popular spring flowers in Japan, so depending on where you are travelling Japan, you can visit Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki, Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park in Hokkaido, Showa Kinen Park in Tokyo, Grinpa Amusement Park in Shizuoka, Sera Kogen Farm in Hiroshima, Kiso Sansen Park Center in Gifu, Hamamatsu Flower Park in Shizuoka or Sakura Furusato Square in Chiba.
Japanese Spring Flowers: Azalea
Similar to cherry blossoms, you can find Japanese azaleas all over the country. For a particular festival, check out Bunkyo Azalea Festival (つつじ祭り, Tsutsuji Matsuri). Gather around Nezu shrine in Tokyo to admire over 3,000 azalea flowers and 100 varieties. This festival also includes performances.
Japanese Spring Flowers: Wisteria
Instead of the ground covered in pink, white and purple, see myriads of flowers hang from the skies. The Japanese wisteria are a major flower lover magnet for this very reason. There are various places to see wisteria in Japan, such as Ashikaga Flower Park and Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo. If you are close to Fukuoka, check out Kawachi Fuji-en Wisteria Garden. The main blooming season is late April to early May. You can easily plan a day trip from Tokyo – guided or by yourself.
Japanese Spring Flowers: Peony
To see peonies blossom during Japan spring times, mark the following location in Tokyo on your map. Head to the Ueno Tosho Temple Peony Garden. Here, you can see more than 100 kinds of 500 peonies in total. These come from abroad, namely China, America and Europe. Some are over 40 years old.
In case you are travelling around the Kansai region, check out the Hase Peony Festival in Nara. The peony trees at Hase Temple were planted about 1000 years ago by the Mezu Empress of the Tang dynasty. During the festival you can witness exhibitions, local events and a tea ceremony. You can also rent a kimono and pair this with a photoshoot to make the most of your visit.
Alternative peony festivals across Japan are Chokokuji Temple Peony Festival in Sado, in the North of Honshu. This Japanese flower festival lasts two days, during which you can attend an outdoor tea ceremony, and a live musical and art performances, including koto, Ondeko and Harigoma.
Japanese Spring Flowers: Pink Moss Phlox
One of the prettiest Japanese flower festivals I’ve seen is the Shibazakura Fuji Festival in Yamanashi Prefecture. From late April to early May, you can admire carpets of 800,000 white, purple and pink moss phlox. Mount Fuji provides the most gorgeous backdrop. If you visit early in the day, you can avoid the crowds and hopefully see the clouds part that usually shroud Fuji. Your best access if from Kawaguchiko, where you can easily spend a day on a trip from Tokyo.
An alternative moss phlox flower festival in Japan is Shibazakura-No-Oka in Saitama Prefecture. This festival is even closer to Tokyo (albeit smaller) and boasts 400,000 shibazakura. Take a walk through in Hitsujiyama Park and overlook Chichibu City and panoramic mountains from here.
Japanese Spring Flowers: Nemophila
Also known as Baby Blue Eyes, this remarkable blue flower covers entire meadows and hillsides like a carpet of petals. The most iconic sights can be had at Hitachi Seaside Park, North of Narita. The 20 hectares of the park are open to the public and you can plan picnics, bike around and dine in onsite cafes and restaurants. Enter at the Miharashi area for the best views.Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash
Japanese Spring Flowers: Lilac
Most people flock to Honshu for Japanese spring flowers. However, Hokkaido has its own beautiful flower festival in spring. The Sapporo Lilac Festival draws some attention in May when the Japanese spring finally arrives after a long winter up North. Not just because lilac is usually a summer flower in Japan. It is the official flower of Sapporo.
Head to either one of the two locations in Sapporo, which are Odori Park and Kawashimo Park. The latter features 1700 lilac trees of 200 different types. The festival itself is combined with tea ceremonies, performances, workshops, a ramen show and food stalls. Plus, if you come on the first day of the festival, you will receive lilac seedlings as a gift!
Option two is the Katsushika Iris Festival (葛飾菖蒲まつり) in Tokyo, which includes live performances. Here, you can see 6000 irises and 200 types in total. At Mizumoto Park in Tokyo, there are 14,000 irises and 100 kinds.
Which Japanese Spring Flowers Should You Visit?
Planning a trip around cherry blossom season in Japan is a great idea! If you can combine it with visits to other flowers, even better! Try to aim for the first week of April to increase your chances for sakura viewing and then stay 3 weeks in Japan if you can.
Many of these Japanese spring flowers can be found in and around Tokyo, making for a great daytrip. However, as flowers are such a huge deal in Japan, you can admire them in any region. These are just a few of the most important hana matsuri, flower festivals around Japan.
Which of these Japanese spring flowers would you wanna see?
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