February in Japan might not draw the same crowds as cherry blossom season does in March/April each year. Still, the deep pink hues and alluring fragrance of these ethereal beauties do steal some of the spotlight during a February or early March sojourn around the country. Here areThis article introduces some of the best spots to view these verdant beauties.

Tokyo's Plum Blossom Hangouts: Hanegi Park and Yushima Tenjin Shrine

Plum blossoms at Hanegi Park. (Photo by: PhotoAC)

Forget the concrete jungle stereotype for a moment – Tokyo offers some seriously serene spots, and they're all about plum blossoms in February. Imagine yourself strolling amidst Hanegi Park’s 650 blooming plum trees while savouring some plum-flavoured madeleines and jellies during the Setagaya Plum Blossom Festival. It’s akin to a peaceful oasis straight out of a timeless painting. Plum trees are everywhere you look, showing off their blooms against the traditional backdrop.

Then there's Yushima Tenjin Shrine, where prospective students come to pray for good luck in their university entrance exams. The plum blossoms here are beautiful enough to be celebrated with a month-long festival comprising food stalls, performances, and a procession involving carrying a mikoshi. It's a place where you can't help but slow down, allowing you to fully immerse in the sweet scent of the blooms.

Mie Prefecture's Plum Paradise: Inabe Plum Grove and Suzuka Forest Garden

Night illumination of plum blossoms at the Suzaka Forest Garden (Photo from: PhotoAC)

Head over to Mie Prefecture and be enamoured by two plum blossom gems in this area: Inabe Plum Grove and Suzuka Forest Garden. Stepping into Inabe Plum Grove is like entering a pink wonderland of varying shades, with over 100 species of plum trees showing off their beauty. It’s hardly a wonder that this is one of the best plum blossom viewing spots in Japan. Take a leisurely stroll, snap some Insta-worthy pics, and just relish the serene atmosphere.

Suzuka Forest Garden, on the other hand, is home to a collection of precious weeping Japanese plum trees, estimated to be over 100 years old and among the oldest in Japan. A night illumination of the garden brings out its splendour – it’s the kind of place where you can forget about the world for a little while and simply enjoy being surrounded by nature's finest.

Shizuoka's Plum Blossom Bliss: Atami Plum Garden and Iwamotoyama Park

Deep pink and white plum blossoms at Atami Plum Garden in Shizuoka Prefecture (Photo from: PhotoAC)

Shizuoka Prefecture, not far from Tokyo, offers breathtaking plum blossoms alongside stunning views. The Atami Plum Garden (Atami Baien) on the Izu Peninsula is a real showstopper. There, 60 different varieties of plum blossom trees are masterfully arranged on both sides of the Ui River, framed by a backdrop of rolling hills and nature – it’s a sight that will leave a lasting impression.

Then there's Iwamotoyama Park, where you can soak up panoramic views of not just Suruga Bay and Izu Peninsula, but also the majesty of Mount Fuji while wandering through rows of plum trees. Located on hilly terrain with three observation decks, the park boasts around 30 varieties of plum trees. The opportunity to capture images of these blooms against Mt. Fuji is truly special.

So, there you have it – Japan's plum blossom paradise waiting to be explored. Whether you seek tranquility in peaceful gardens, captivating vistas along scenic mountain trails, or breathtaking seaside views, there's a plum blossom spot waiting to unveil its floral magic!

(Cover photo from: Wikimedia Commons)