Japanese Language Blog

Flowers in Japan Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Culture

Depending on the season, you can see some beautiful flowers in Japan. For example, Sakura () or cherry blossoms bloom in late March and early April. My favorite place to see cherry blossoms is in Shinobazu no Ike (不忍池) or Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Kōen or Ueno Park (上野公園). Cherry blossoms have a symbolic significance in Japanese culture. As soon as cherry blossoms bloom, they disappear once the season is over. Therefore cherry blossoms are considered a metaphor for how fleeting life can be.

Some people confuse plum blossoms with cherry blossoms because if you don’t look closely they can look similar. One difference between the two is that plum blossoms (梅花) in Japan can bloom as early as late February to early March. In my opinion the best place to see plum blossoms is in Mukōjima Hyakkaen Garden (向島百花園). The Mukōjima Hyakkaen Garden is a beautiful garden in Tokyo. In Japanese poems and literature, plum blossoms are often used to symbolize the arrival of spring.

Wisterias () in Japan bloom around late April to early May. Wisterias in Japan tend to be purple or lavender in color. Wisteria vines can climb upwards, counterclockwise, clockwise and around any available support beam. This is why you sometimes see wisteria around temples and shrines. The wisteria flowers hang low and can form a kind of trellis where people can walk underneath. Walking under a wisteria tree is really great for setting the mood for any occassion!

Hydrangea or Ajisai (紫陽花) bloom around late June to mid or late July in Japan. Hydrangeas come in many colors. The color of the hydrangea depends upon on the pH of the soil. Soils that are acidic produce hydrangeas with a bluish color, soils that have a neutral pH produce white or cream-colored hydrangeas, while soils that have an alkaline pH produce pink, purple or lavender hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are normally ornamental flowers in Japan, but sometimes they are used in a sweet tea called amacha (甘茶)

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