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.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.