Plum Blossoms | 梅の花
Spring is in the air and pink, yellow, and white flowers are popping up all around the city. No, these are not cherry blossoms, but rather plum blossoms (梅の花)!
Plum blossoms are much less famous than Japan’s sakura (cherry blossoms), but these flowers carry their own special beauty and, most importantly, signal the end of winter. Hallelujah!
When I first saw plum blossoms, I mistakenly confused them with cherry blossoms. I have since learned one of the distinguishing factors between the two species: cherry blossom petals have a split at the tip while plum petals do not.
Additionally, plum flowers bloom earlier than cherry blossoms and last much longer (a couple of weeks vs. cherry blossom’s one). If you spy flowers in February or early March, you can be pretty sure that they are plum and not cherry blossoms.
In a way, I think that plum blossoms do not draw the same craze and popularity as cherry blossoms just because they are around so much longer. It’s easier to cherish that which is fleeting…
If you live in Fukuoka, and want to see plum blossoms, here are some places you should visit!
Maizuru Park (舞鶴公園)
The first location on the list is in the heart of the city at Maizuru Park. Maizuru Park is located right next to Ohori Park and has over 300 plum blossom trees in the Plum Blossom Garden called Baien (梅園).
As Maizuru Park is very accessible, expect it to be busy on the weekends with people strolling around the trees taking in the sweet scent.
In additional to plum trees, there are a variety of other seasonal flowers within the park, like cherry blossoms and wisteria. If you are interested in knowing when these bloom, check out this guide!
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (太宰府天満宮)
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is another popular place to see flowering plum trees. The shrine is home to an old legend about a plum tree that flew overnight from Kyoto to be reunited with its master in Dazaifu. (Learn more about taking a day trip to Dazaifu here).
Not only is the area famous for plum trees, but there is also a delicious snack called ume gae mochi that is sold on the grounds as well. (Ume is the Japanese word for plum)
Here, the bright pink buds just starting to form.
Baijinji Temple (梅林寺)
If you have a car and are up for traveling a bit further, you can visit Bairinji Temple in Kurume. Here you will find over 500 plum trees blooming on the temple grounds.
Another great thing to see in Kurume (regardless of the season), is Daihonzan Naritasan Kurume Temple. This temple is home to a massive 62-meter-tall statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, and can be seen from miles around.
More on Plums
While ornamental flowering plum trees like the ones mentioned above do not usually produce fruit, edible plums are an important part of the Japanese culinary world. Have you ever bitten into a dried Japanese plum that was so sour it make your face pucker up? This is umeboshi, a brined, salted plum that is usually used to accent rice dishes.
While I am not a big fan of umeboshi, umeshu is something that is more up my alley. This sweet alcoholic drink is made using just three ingredients (plums, alcohol, and sugar). If you want to learn more about umeshu and how to make it yourself, check out this post!
Looking to read more about Japan’s beautiful nature? Be sure to check out these other blog posts!
- Spring and Summer Flower Guide: Fukuoka, Japan | Fukuoka – The best times and places to see flora in Fukuoka!
- Kawachi Wisteria Garden | Fukuoka – Breathtaking purple, magenta, and white archways of hanging wisteria flowers.
- Weekend in Yanagawa: Hina-matsuri, Canal Punting, and Cherry Blossoms | Yanagawa – Breathtaking cherry blossoms and canals.
- Nanohana Fields in Fukuoka, 菜の花 | Fukuoka – Fields of bright yellow mustard greens