I didn’t realize I was such a flower lover until I came to Japan! If there is one thing I’ve learned about spring time here, it’s that there are always beautiful flowers in bloom.
As one variety starts to wither and fade, another is just beginning to show its beauty. Maybe you are already familiar with cherry blossoms, but aside from these, did you know that there are so many other delightful varieties to enjoy?
If you are a nature enthusiast, then keep reading, this guide is for you!
Note that this year the weather has been really weird, so the blooming time frames may differ from other years.
Table of Contents
- Ume | 梅の花: Plum Blossoms
- Sakura | 桜: Cherry Blossoms
- Nanohana | 菜の花: Rapeseed, Mustard Greens
- Icelandic Poppy | アイスランドポピー
- Fuji | 藤の花: Wisteria
- Rurikarakusa | 瑠璃唐草: Nemophila (Baby’s Blue Eyes)
- Lupinus | ルピナス属: Lupine
- Ajisai | あじさい: Hydrangeas
Ume | 梅の花: Plum Blossoms
Early February – Late February
When I first saw plum blossoms, I mistakenly confused them with cherry blossoms. (I have since learned a big distinguishing factor between the two: cherry blossom petals have a split at the tip while plum petals do not.) Additionally, plum flowers tend to bloom earlier than cherry blossoms and last a lot longer. In a weird way, I feel like it is because plum blossoms are around longer that they don’t draw the same craze and popularity as cherry blossoms do…
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is one of the most popular places to see flowering plum trees. I visited the shrine a bit early in the season, but was able to glimpse bright pink buds just starting to form. Another place to see plum blossoms is Bairinzen Temple in Kurume.
Sakura | 桜: Cherry Blossoms
Mid/ Late March – Early April *depends on the type of sakura and location. The Kyushu area blooms before the rest of Eastern Japan
Up next is the most popular and famous spring flower- cherry blossoms! It is really hard to express the magic and beauty of these flowers with words alone. During the peak of their bloom, the trees transform into poofy balls of pink and white. If you stand and wait under a tree, sakura petals flutter down from above. Sakura season is a lovely time in Japan, but it’s shortness, 1-2 weeks, surprises me every time.
Yanagawa during cherry blossom season is something else altogether- you can read about my canal and cherry blossom excursion here! Local favorites near Fukuoka City include Nishi Park and main street on Nakasu. For more on cherry blossoms, check out this blog post!
Nanohana | 菜の花: Rapeseed, Mustard Greens
Looking for fields of green and yellow? Then you want to see nanohana, also known as rapeseed or mustard greens. As you walk alongside these tall plants, it feels like you are in a sea of yellow. Though a bit far from the main city, I visited the Koga Nanohana Field as it was one of the more expansive fields I came across during my research. What is neat about this plant is that it is edible and often prepared in spring dishes! For more on nanohana, read here.
Icelandic Poppies | アイスランドポピー
For a bit of a color change, head to Uminonakamichi Park in March as this is when Icelandic Poppies are in full bloom! Characterized by the cheeriest of yellows and oranges, seeing these flowers will surely brighten your day.
Fuji | 藤の花: Wisteria
Late April – Early May
A curtain of hanging purple flowers, blowing softly in the wind…these are wisteria plants! Wisteria come in many shades of lavender, magenta, pink, and white. I had never seen these in the US so I was really excited to check them out in Japan. The most famous location (and therefore crowded and hard to get access to), is the Kawachi Wisteria Garden. In this privately owned garden, you can walk through domed terraces of elegant wisteria flowers while marveling at their hanging delicateness. A few other (though much less extravagant) places for wisteria viewing are Buzō-ji Temple, Maizuru Park, and Kichijôji. For a full blog post on Wisteria, check out this!
Bonus: If you visit Kawachi Wisteria Garden, you will be able to see more than just wisterias- azaleas, and hydrangeas also grow here!
Rurikarakusa | 瑠璃唐草: Nemophila (Baby’s Blue Eyes)
Mid April – Early May
If you travel back to Uminonakamichi Park in April, you can find a carpet of beautiful blue Nemophilas. Their light, baby blue petals cover the ground and on a nice day, the blues seem to melt into the sky. In the park you can also try nemophila ice cream! There is just a slight blue tint to the ice cream and the flavor is veeeery subtle, so don’t expect it to be too crazy.
Lupinus | ルピナス属: Lupine
Late April – Early May
These flowers are VIBRANT and come in almost every color of the rainbow! Thick beds of these flowers can be found (again) in Uminonakamichi Park. Additionally, these can often be found around the city in streetside flower beds. I think the spear shape of this plant is so cool.
Ajisai | あじさい: Hydrangeas
Late May – Early June
It’s almost halfway through the year, but the pretty flowers keep coming! The hydrangeas in Japan are no exception when it comes to stunning flowers. You can find hydrangeas that seem almost holographic, have unique striations, and are made up of multicolor blends. Hakozaki Shrine holds a small hydrangea festival where you can walk through a garden of the flowers.
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine also has beautiful hydrangeas (and irises) during this time! If you don’t want to go anywhere special, this is another flower that commonly blooms all over the city.
Well this is all for now – as I find more flowers I’ll continue to update this guide. If you are want to read about more adventures around Japan, be sure to check out these blog posts!