Setagaya Ume Matsuri 2015 世田谷梅祭り
Plum blossoms are the best. Sakura (cherry blossoms) may get all the attention, but personally I love ume (plum) blossoms the most. They have the delicacy of cherry blossoms, but also the strength to survive the harsh conditions of winter. When the hanami (flower viewing) custom was said to start in the Nara period (710-794) people admired plum blossomsーand it wasn’t until the Heian period (794-1185) that people switched to gazing at fluttering cherry petals. To be fair, I can’t blame themーFebruary is still cold, and the weather in March-April is more temperate and suited for outdoor activities.
Even so, I still love plum blossoms the most, which why YJ and I headed over to Setagaya Ume Matsuri on the first day it openedーSaturday, February 7th. Unfortunately, since we’ve had a couple of cold spells over the last couple of weeks with guerilla snowfall, only about a quarter of the trees at Hanegi Park were in bloom. It’ll most likely be another week before the whole hill full of roughly 650 plum trees will come to life in a sea of whites and pinks in various shades.
The park has 20 different types of plum trees, and the flower petals vary in number, size, color and shape. We learned also that the trees originally came to Japan from China and Taiwan. They bloom (depending on the type) from December to March.
If you haven’t had your fill of plum blossoms yet, go check out Foreign Sanctuary’s photo essay for even more of these lovely flowers in their native land, Taiwan.
Do you have a favorite flower? Have you ever done hanami?