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Plum Blossoms in Kanazawa


Photo: Kanazawa City  

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Plum Blossoms in Kanazawa


Beautiful flowers heralding the arrival of spring in this historical castle town

Kanazawa City


Photo: Kanazawa City


Most people, including those living in Japan, probably think of cherry blossoms when they think of the flower that symbolizes spring in Japan. With gorgeous cherry blossoms blooming all around town in April, Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is no exception. However, there is another important flower that blooms here: plum blossoms, or ume in Japanese. In March, as winter comes to an end, these pretty vibrant pink, red and white flowers can be found everywhere in Kanazawa. 


Ⓒ Ishikawa Prefectural Tourism League


Plum blossoms usually have five petals in a round, elegant shape and a distinct sweet fragrance. Seeing these delicate flowers blooming in the still cold weather is a sight that warms the heart and delights the eye. The Japanese custom of “hanami” (flower viewing), which is today is synonymous with cherry blossoms, is actually believed to have started in the Nara period (710–794) with plum blossoms.

Symbol of the arrival of spring and associated with good fortune, plum blossoms and the trees they grow on are thought to ward off evil, so you will often see them planted around temples and shrines nationwide, including the grounds of Kanazawa’s Oyama Jinja Shrine. In Kenrokuen Garden, known as one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens and an iconic sight of Kanazawa, there is an area with 200 plum trees of 20 different varieties.


Photo: Kanazawa City


Not only real flowers, but also logos and signs with plum-blossom motifs can be spotted throughout Kanazawa. It stems back from the plum-blossom crest of the Maeda clan, the feudal lords who ruled over the area for centuries. In March, the snow melts and it gets warmer and sunnier in Kanazawa. How about visiting this historical castle town to appreciate the blooming plum blossoms? Wearing a kimono while exploring its streets will make the scenery even more enjoyable! 



How to get there


Oyama Jinja Shrine: About 5 minutes by taxi from Kanazawa Station. Alternatively, take a bus to "Minami-cho" stop (7 minutes) and then walk 3 minutes. 
Kenrokuen Garden: About 15 minutes by bus and 5 minutes on foot from Kanazawa Station.


Oyama Jinja Shrine: 11-1 Oyamamachi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken
Kenrokuen Garden: 1 Kenroku-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken



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