While much ado is made about Japan’s cherry blossom season, winter-weary travellers should also consider Tokyo’s magnificent plum blossom season.
With blossoms opening throughout February and lingering until early March, it offers all of the festivals, springtime splendour, and photo-ops that cherry blossom season does, without the massive crowds. While there are many places to view them, Hanegi Park is at the top of my list.
Plum Blossoms vs. Cherry Blossoms: Well, what’s the difference?
Despite endless cases of mistaken identity, there are some key differences between plum and cherry blossoms—most notably, smell. Plum blossoms give off a lush, lovely scent, which many people associate with their later-blooming counterparts.
Perhaps this confusion springs from over-enthusiastic marketing teams; we’ll never really know.
Regardless, it’s likely that you’ll smell plum blossoms well before you spot them. On the other hand, cherry blossoms give off only a very faint scent, even if you’ve leaned in very, very close to them. Next, take a close look at the petals. Plum petals have smooth edges, while cherry petals have a singular, tell-tale notch in the centre. Still uncertain? Check the tree’s bark. Is it light with horizontal lines? Probably cherry. Is it unlined and dark? Well, you’re likely staring at a plum tree.
Finally, consider the time of year. Plum blossoms first open at the start of February and linger until late March. Meanwhile, cherry blossoms bloom just as March draws to a close, stay open throughout April, and usually peter out in mid-May. Sometimes, the seasons overlap, and it can feel like every corner of Tokyo is gloriously, wonderfully in bloom.
(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on March 1, 2020. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more.)