Best ume (plum blossom) spots to visit across Tokyo

By Kosei Nagashima and Deborah Ariel Pantaleon

Winter’s end is finally here, and soon temperatures will rise and the first plum blossoms of the year will bloom. Cherry blossoms don’t bloom until late March, so the pink, purple and white flowers will hold over people with spring fever until then.

The plum blossom, or ume in Japanese, originated from China, and is often referred to as a symbol for health, hope and renewal. They can bloom as early as late January and last until the first few days of March. If you’re in the Tokyo area in early spring, check out our list of the best plum blossom viewing spots.

Yushima Tenjin
3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Nearest station: Yushima Station (Chiyoda Line); free entry
Events: Nodate (outdoor tea ceremony) Feb. 10, 17, 24, March 3 (Sun.), from 10 a.m. (tea ticket: ¥600)

Hanegi Park
4-38-53 Daita, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo
Nearest station: Umegaoka Station (Odakyu Odawara Line); free entry
Events: Feb. 9-March 3

Kameido Ten Jinja
3-6-1 Kameido, Koto Ward, Tokyo
Nearest station: Kameido Station (Sobu Line); free entry
Events: Feb. 9-March 3

Jindai Botanical Garden
5-31-10 Jindaiji-Motomachi, Chofu City, Tokyo
Nearest station: Chofu Station (Keio Line); entrance fee ¥500 for adults, ¥250 Seniors (65 and older), ¥200 middle school students and above
Events: Feb. 5-March 3. On Feb. 11, an ume concert will be performed by students from Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music.

Mukojima Hyakkaen
3-18-3 Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida Ward, Tokyo
Nearest station: Higashi-Mukojima Station (Tobu Skytree Line); entrance fee ¥150 for adults
Free tour guide every Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Events: Suzume odori (sparrow dance) Feb. 9 and March 3

Koganei Park
1-13-1 Sekinomachi, Koganei City, Tokyo
Nearest station: Higashi-Koganei Station (JR Chuo Line); free entry
Events: Seventeenth ume festival Feb. 16-17

Sankeien Garden
58-1 Honmoku-Sannotani, Naka Ward, Kanagawa Prefecture
Nearest station: Negishi Station (Negishi Line); entrance fee ¥700 for adults, ¥200 for middle school and elementary students
Events: Plum blossom viewing from Feb. 9 to March 3. A haiku competition will be held on Feb. 24.

Koishikawa Korakuen
1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Nearest station: Iidabashi Station (JR Chuo Line); entrance fee ¥300 for adults.

Ushi Tenjin Kitano Shrine
1-5-2 Kasuga, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Nearest station: Korakuen Station (Marunouchi Line); free entry
Events: Feb. 1-25

Keio Mogusaen
560 Mogusa, Hino City, Tokyo
Nearest station: Mogusaen Staton (Keio Line); ¥300 for adults
Events: Feb. 2-March 10 (musical concerts and performances will be held)

Okurayama Park
2-10 Okurayama, Kohoku Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
Nearest station: Okurayama Station (Tokyu Toyoko Line); free entry
Events: Feb. 16-17 (food stalls and horticultural goods will be on sale)

Odawara Ume Festival
(Soga Bairin) Soga Bessho, Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Nearest station: Shimosoga Station (JR Tokai Gotemba Line); free entry
Events: Feb. 2-March 3; shishimai (lion dance) and calligraphy presentations will be scheduled during February