Plum Tree Blossom Festival in Tokyo

Tokyo’s plum trees start blooming when it’s still chilly, usually during February. The plum in Japanese culture symbolizes hope and vitality. The blossoms are a sign spring will come!

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | See the plum blossoms in the trees? Photo by Anne Jones.

Anne Jones captured this photo on February 17, 2019. She said they’re expecting plum blossoms through the end of this month and expect the cherry blossoms to start around March 22 this year. She wrote:

A rainbow-like light falls on Taiko performers during an Ume Matsuri (Plum Tree Blossom Festival) in Tokyo, Japan.

As to the light on the performers, it was a clear and dry day and I was shooting southwest in the afternoon, so none of that explains it. However, a group of ladies from the shrine was preparing vegetable miso soup over traditional open coal fires (which we got to eat after the ceremonies!). There was a lot of smoke no more than 20 feet from where I was. I think some errant smoke might have caused the rainbow.

Bottom line: In Japan, the plum blossom festival heralds spring.

Read more: Plum blossoms in Tokyo and where to see them

Help EarthSky keep going! Please donate what you can to our annual crowd-funding campaign.

Deborah Byrd