3 famous Japanese plants to see besides Sakura

  • Cherry blossoms, or Sakura, may be the iconic Japanese flower, but that is not to overlook the other beautiful flowers and plants, that also hold iconic status in Japanese culture. Often the inspiration and subject of songs and poems and other forms of art, Japanese people’s love for simple joys and nature come through in their appreciation of these tiny creatures on earth. These are some of the flora that hold special meaning in Japanese culture.

    Ume (plums)

    Plum flowers in Japan bloom in early spring, around mid to end February. There are a large variety of plum flowers that could be anywhere from pure white to bright red. Several species are especially prized for their fruits, which make the base of plum wine and plum snacks. The distinct sweet and sour taste is hard to replicate with other ingredients, and does give many Japanese dishes its exotic kick.


    Not a plant native to Japan, they grow abundantly in summer nonetheless. Rub the petal and you will get the subtle and beautiful lavender scent lingering on your fingers. A field of lavenders smells glorious, and the calming sea of lavender blue will make the world seem just fine at that time. Lavender fields are a famous tourist destination in Hokkaido.


    The golden prince of autumn, Icho trees turn dark yellow in late fall. In school compounds or streets, Icho line the roadsides. Viewing rows of golden foliage from the Icho tree is an absolutely stunning sight in Autumn; one that, of course, attracts many tourists and café goers. Ginko is also an important ingredient in Japanese cooking, and can be found fried and salted as a beer snack, or in chawan-mushi, the yummy egg pudding that accompanies sushi dinners. However, they do come with a downside: the crushed fruits that come along in autumn absolutely stink! This is enough to ward off many otherwise nature lovers in Japan from visiting an Icho park during the fall season.