Not Just Sakura！See the Flowers of Japan
The image of “Sakura” or "cherry blossoms" is strong when thinking of spring flowers in Japan, but there are also various other spring flowers such as plum blossoms, rape blossoms, tulips, nemophila, and roses that sprout from January – June. In this article, we will introduce basic information such as the best time to see these flowers and recommended viewing spots! The following are few of the many attractive flowers other than cherry blossoms, so be sure to check them out during your trip to Japan!
※All information and prices listed are accurate as of December 2020.
（1 ）Plum Blossoms
（5）Flowers from Spring to Early Summer
（1）Plum Blossoms - A Sign of the End of Winter
Plum blossoms are usually in full bloom in February and March and sometimes starts to bloom as early as the end of the year. It is a flower that signals the arrival of spring before other spring flowers come in to join the spring vibe. They give a sweet aroma and depending on the type, the shades of the flower are quite different, such as dark pink, light pink, and white, and there are various petals. Please take a close look at them when you happen to be in Japan using plum blossom season.
Recommended Spot - Atami Plum Garden
Atami Plum Garden is a spot where the earliest blooming plums in Japan can be enjoyed. It is a historic plum garden where 469 plum trees of 60 varieties have been planted. There are even old plum trees that are over a century old, and red and white coloured plum blossoms bloom in the park at the flowering season. From the beginning of January to the beginning of March annually, the Atami Plum Garden Plum Festival is held and is packed with a great number of visitors viewing the plum blossoms. During this period, foot-bath facilities and souvenir shops will be open in the park. Other events like street performances and free amazake (Japanese traditional sweet drink made from rice and sake lees) are also planned (*). It takes about 15 minutes by bus from JR Atami Station bound for "Ainohara housing complex" and get off at "Umezono" bus stop.
※Entrance fee is free. But there is an admission fee during the plum festival. Please check the official page for more details.
※Event contents may be cancelled or changed depending on the novel coronavirus situation.
（2）Rape Blossoms - a Sprawling Yellow Carpet
The rape field, which covers the ground in yellow, is one of the landscapes which makes you feel the arrival of spring. There are famous places for viewing them across the country, but time when flowering begin varies depending on the area and spot. Rape blossoms bloom from January in areas with a warm climate such as Kyushu, and from May to June in areas where they bloom late such as in the Tohoku area. Also, unlike the cherry blossoms that don’t take long to fall, the flowering period of rape blossoms is quite lengthy, which is usually 2 to 3 months, so there are lots of chances for you to enjoy them during spring season.
Recommended spot ① - Sannokura Kogen（Fukushima）
Sannokura Ski Resort in Fukushima is recommended as a rape blossom viewing spot. Rape blossoms are in full bloom across an area of about 8.3 hectares such as on the slopes. The flowering season is from mid May - early June, and around 3.5 million rape blossoms are in full bloom at this time. Rape blossoms mean "bells of happiness" in flower language, so be sure to ring a bell to commemorate your visit! It takes about 30 minutes by taxi from JR Kitakata Station.
※Entrance fee is free
Recommended spot ② - Nokonoshima Island Park（Fukuoka）
Nokonoshima Island located in Hakata Bay, Fukuoka, is one of the best flower spots in the prefecture, including flowers such as rape blossoms, cherry blossoms, cosmos, and daffodils. Nokonoshima Island Park is particularly recommended as a rape blossom viewing spot. The flowering time is from late February - mid-April. With the contrast between the vast rape field, the sea and sky is also as breathtaking! Also, an illuminations event is held from late March to early April, which takes place during the cherry blossom season, so you can see the cherry blossoms and rape blossoms in the night scenery! To access to Nokonoshima Island Park, take the Nishitetsu bus "Tenjin Express Bus Terminal Mae" for about 30 minutes then get off at "Noko Tosenba".
※There is a fee to enter the park. Please head to the official website to check on the details.
（3）Beautiful waterfall-like purple flowers! Wisteria flowers
"Wisteria" flowers are in full bloom from late April - early May. In particular, the Wisteria trellis, which is a cluster of purple flowers (Calyx) hanging down for decoration purposes, is a must-see! The sight of the purple, white, pink, yellow, and other Fuji flowers hanging like a waterfall is a very fantastic landscape that can only be witnessed as a Wisteria trellis. You are sure to be fascinated by the sight of the wisteria trellis that has light purple and white flower clusters hanging and giving off a sweet aroma. Other than Shibukawa Park, there are other famous spots across Japan such as Ashikaga Flower Park (Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture) and Kameido Tenjin shrine (Koto Ward, Tokyo).
Recommended spot - Shibukawa Park （Okayama）
Shibukawa Park is known for measuring about 900m in total and having the largest scale Wisteria trellis in Japan. It blooms from late April - early May, and the "Shibukawa Fuji Festival" is held annually, so it is crowded with lots of tourists. The Sake "Tama no Fuji Roman" made from wisteria fruit is also famous. It takes about 1 hour 10 minutes via limited express bus bound for Shibukawa from JR Okayama Station.
※Entrance fee is free
（4）A different kind of charm! The Pink Carpet "Moss Phlox"
Moss phlox is a completely different variety from the Yoshino Cherry, which is well-known among Japanese cherry blossoms (a perennial plant of the Phlox family). It was named “Shiba-zakura (lawn cherry)” because its flowers, shaped like cherry blossoms, cover the entire area like a lawn. Due to the overlapping tiny flowers all around the area, it looks just like a pink carpet. The prime time to view moss phlox is from early May to early June.
※There is a fee to enter the park. Please head to the official website to check on the details
Recommended spot - Lake Kawaguchi（Yamanashi）
The "Fuji Shiba-Zakura Festival", which is held from mid-April to late May annually, is one of the top famous spots to view moss phlox. Up to 800,000 moss phlox planted in the city area are in full bloom, and a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji and moss phlox can be enjoyed. To access to the event venue, Fuji Motosu Lake Resort, it takes about 30 minutes by bus from Kawaguchiko Station on the Fujikyuko Line.
There are more! Flowers from Spring to Early Summer
Nemophila is in full bloom from early April - early May, sprawling like a blue carpet. There are still lots of other attractive flowers in Japan, such as "hydrangea" that beautifully colours the rainy season, bright pink flowers that bloom in early summer, and "azalea" that has been popular in Japan for many years! Please check the list below for the prime time to view each of the beautiful flowers in Japan.
※This list is only a guide. It is recommended that you check the blooming information before you go, as the time of blooming flowers and the time of year may vary depending on the region and climate.
Refer to the following for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.