The end of February outlines a beginning of the plum blossoms season in Japan. Plum has a less dedicated following than ubiquitous cherry trees, however, its flowers range from completely white to a saturated pink - a beautiful color that cherry blossoms can hardly attain. In addition, plum petals have a heady fragrance while cherry ones has no odor or a very light one. I have heard many people find it difficult to distinguish between sakura (cherry) and ume (plum) but I can almost tell them apart.
Japanese plum symbolizes vitality and hope, and reminds us that warm spring days are coming closer. It is a very commonplace in a Japanese culture, especially cuisine. If you haven’t yet tried a sour pickled plum that could be found in every convenience store, this is a right timing. Many foreign visitors take a liking to a widely popular sweet wine umeshu, with plums soaked in sugar and alcohol.
When it comes to the plum viewing in the Kansai area, Osaka castle grounds have the best plum orchard. Over 1000 plum trees are planted there, and every year a Plum Garden comes alive with hues of pink, white and red. It is enormous with its water-filled moats, blossom gardens! Well maintained and perfect for a picnic or a romantic stroll. You can easily spend there a day, admiring the beautiful shade, shape and scent of the plum blossoms. Great feast for the eyes! A day I went there entire grove was filled with plum blossoms of different varieties and colors. The plum trees were in various stages of growth - some in full bloom, some with lovely buds. I walked through the garden and saw many photo lovers with huge cameras excitedly bouncing from one tree to another. Amateurs and professionals, they were waiting to catch little owls and blue birds with their lens. A lot of people brought their pets to enjoy a warm sunny day. Some were trotting alongside owners wagging their tails; others were curious and poked their noses everywhere. Splendid scene to watch!
|Title||Plum blossoms at the Osaka Castle|
|Address||1-1 Osakajo, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002|
|Entrance fee||free for Plum Garden, 600 yen to enter museum|
|Opening times||9:00 to 17:00 (entrance until 16:30)|
|Access||the closest station to Plum Garden is Osakajokoen Station (10 minute, 160 yen from JR Osaka). You can also approach castle grounds through Otemon Gate, closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station.|