February in Tokyo | Time Out Tokyo

Where to see plum blossoms in and around Tokyo

The best shrines, temples and parks for welcoming the first signs of spring

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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The winter-blooming plum – or ume – flowers may not be as spectacular as cherry blossoms, which bloom about a month later and are the symbol of spring in Japan. But the white and pink plum blossoms are still a sight to behold and are renowned for their pleasant fragrance that fills the air from early February to mid-March.

Plum trees can, of course, be found all over the city, but the parks, shrines, temples and gardens listed here rank among the top ume-viewing spots, many of which have been popular since the 1600s. While festivals have been cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you can still head out – while adhering to safety protocols of course – and admire these early heralds of spring.

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The top ume spots

Hanegi Park

Things to do Umegaoka

The beautiful flowers of Hanegi Park’s more than 650 plum trees provide a great excuse for making your way west to Umegaoka in Setagaya before the advent of spring. Roughly half of the park's trees are in full bloom as of February 10, but we can expect more towards the end of February.

Yushima Tenjin

Things to do

A popular place for plum blossom fans since the olden days, Yushima Tenmangu shrine still draws crowds every year. The plum blossoms might get less hype than the cherry blossoms that follow, but they still make for some gorgeous late-winter scenery. The trees are expected to reach full bloom by February 20. 

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Koganei Park

Kids Koganei

Enjoy the Musashino spring at Koganei Park, where around 100 plum trees burst into bloom in February. This year, the ume are blooming slower than usual with one species starting to bloom on February 14.

Keio Mogusaen

Attractions Parks and gardens Tama area

Boasting a total of 500 plum trees, some of them more than 300 years old, Hino's Mogusaen has long been famed as one of Tokyo's best ume-viewing spots. Once frequented by literary greats like novelist Kenjiro Tokutomi and poet Bokusui Wakayama, the park is still an impressive sight in February and March, when the flowers burst into bloom. The ume here have started blooming on Feburary 11.

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Sankeien Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Yokohama

Although best known for its sakura, Yokohama's sprawling Sankeien Garden is also a decent destination for plum blossoms. Bursting into white and pink blooms from early February to mid-March, the 600 trees here include a few rare varieties. 

Kameido Ten Jinja
Photo: kameidotenjin.or.jp

Kameido Ten Jinja

Attractions Religious buildings and sites Kameido

From mid-February, Kameido’s charming Tenjin shrine celebrates the blooming of its 200-plus plum trees. 

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Ushi Tenjin Kitano Shrine

Things to do Kasuga

Kasuga's Ushi Tenjin shrine is dedicated to the ninth-century scholar and poet Sugawara no Michizane, who is said to have loved the sight of plum flowers. It's thus only fitting that the shrine grounds feature dozens of plum trees, the blooming of which is celebrated in February. The ancient shrine also houses a cow-shaped sculpture that's said to make wishes come true for anyone who strokes it.

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