First hint of Spring

Celebrating the season is part of the tradition in Japan, and yearly festivals scattered through the months remind us of the passing of time.

I love how the blossoming of seasonal trees and plants is cause for celebration. Camellia, plum trees, cherry trees, peonies, irises, hydrangea and lotuses are all favorites, but I’m particularly fond of plum blossoms. They look somehow quite similar to cherry blossoms but when you get to know them, are actually so different. Plum blossoms are pretty, cute and fun, while the beauty of cherry blossom is more subdued, more subtle, and has lot to do with how quick they are blown away by the spring wind. I find plum blossoms are more friendly…if it makes sense !

This year, I really wanted to go plum-watching, but was not really in the mood for the hassle of a crowded shrine or temple. After a bit of research, G. and I discovered that the park of the Imperial Palace has a plum garden. We had high hopes for a quiet atmosphere since the park is so big and major plum sites are scattered elsewhere around the city. It turned out even better!

Some people were walking around, enjoying the view, but not enough to be referred to as a crowd, the weather was cold but perfect, many kinds of plum trees were blossoming gently, each displaying its own shape and colors, and its own smell. As we were walking towards the plum garden, the air around us became sweeter, kind of Spring-like, with a hint of fresh leaves thrown in the mix. It is so difficult to describe a smell, but we had an amazing time enjoying the sweet perfume of the plum trees !

Spring was definitely in the air !


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