Sakura is the most famous seasonal flower in Japan. It is the symbol of spring. People from all over Japan look forward to this season, when they can unfold their picnic mats and gather over a neatly-packed bento with cans of beer while viewing the pretty cherry blossoms. It is the most awaited season after the long cold winter months. Sakura viewing signals the start of the warm season of spring.
What signals the blooming of sakura? Most people from outside Japan do not know that before sakura blooms an equally beautiful and stunning praise-worthy flower flourishes. It is the plum blossoms, known as Ume in Japanese.
Ume, like Sakura, comes in many varieties. It also can be seen everywhere in Japan. Many foreigners mistake Ume for Sakura. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (太宰府天満宮) in Kyushu is a famous place for plum blossom viewing which occurs in mid-February to March.
Yellow, yellow, yellow everywhere. Another awesome flower that blooms in spring is Nanohana. They usually grow near riverbanks and rice fields. Its bright yellow color will surely brighten your day up.
One of the most fragrant and amazing spring blooms is Wisteria. There are also many varieties but the most common is the purple one. It blooms on the trees. One of the most famous wisteria viewing places is the wisteria tunnel which can be found in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka.
Another spring blossoms that color the surroundings is Azalea. It is known as tsutsuji in Japanese. It can also be typically seen throughout the country: in the parks, the neighbors’ gardens, temples and shrines, or sidewalks. It looks like small lilies.
There are so many flowers that bloom in spring. Not only Sakura. They bloom everywhere, they come in many different vibrant colors. Some are fragrant, some are not. All these flowers make spring a season to look forward to. And all these flowers, sad to say, are short-lived. Two weeks, three weeks, a month at best and they’re gone. They fall to the ground and are swept away by the wind. And then you have another year to wait.