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Mito Plum Blossom Festival

  • The most iconic flower in Japan is perhaps the cherry blossom or sakura, blooming in most regions of Japan in late March or early April. However, sakura’s cousin, the plum blossom, is a beautiful and underrated flower that blooms a little earlier, with the season beginning in late February. To see the plum blossom at it’s best, head to the capital of Ibaraki prefecture, Mito. This city comes to life during the Mito Plum Blossom Festival to celebrate the coming of spring.

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Kairakuen is regarded as one of Japan’s best landscape gardens. It is 30 minutes’ walk or 10 minutes by car east of Mito station. The garden was opened in 1842 and, unlike many other traditional landscape gardens, was not restricted to the elite but open to the general public from the beginning. Indeed, the name Kairakuen means “park to be enjoyed together.” Indeed, there is much to enjoy here: a bamboo grove, cedar woods, and traditional Japanese buildings. But it is undoubtedly the plum trees that have put the garden on the map. During the Mito Plum Blossom Festival, the park’s whopping 3,000 plum trees are in bloom. With over 100 different kinds of white, pink, and red varieties of blossom on display, the effect is pretty spectacular.

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    As well as Kairakuen, the other main location for the Miko Plum Blossom Festival is the Kodokan, a beautiful Japanese style building surrounded by plum trees, which was originally an elite school in the 19th century.

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Across the season, you can appreciate the beauty of the plum blossom at different times of the day in special events. One you absolutely cannot miss is the Night Plum Festival. Hundreds of candles illuminate the paths, producing an effect that will take your breath away. Please note that this is not held every day and the event at Kairakuen may be at a different time to the one at Kodokan, so be sure to check online for details.

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Another option has a very different but still awesome vibe, walking through towering trees illuminated by lights of the moody blue variety. While candles are homely, this kind of light is mysterious. You will feel like you’re in an enchanted forest.

    Most blossom viewing events and locations pretty much shut down by nightfall, so these illuminated events really set the Mito Plum Blossom Festival apart from its peers.

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    As with most Japanese festivals there will be a wonderful friendly atmosphere and traditional food and drinks on offer. Expect the standard festival fare of okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and taiyaki as well as gorgeous specialty blossom themed sweets. If you’re going at night, remember it’s still chilly in Ibaraki during plum blossom time, so wrap up warm!

    Kairakuen
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Mitoshi Tokiwachou 1-3-3
    Phone
    0292445454
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