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The Best Season for Viewing Each Particular Type of Flower Introduced in the Site

  • Plum Blossoms in Okayama Korakuen Garden

    Late February to Early March

    Plum Blossom

    Plum blossoms, called ume in Japanese, are very familiar to Japanese people. The red or white flowers are a typical seasonal feature to announce the advent of spring in Japan. While plum trees feast the eyes of people on beautiful flowers, plum fruits are served as drying pickled plums, and products like liquor, vinegar and jam.

    Recommended Places

    Former Shizutani School, Okayama Korakuen Garden & Handayama Botanical Garden

  • Cherry Blossoms over Asahi River

    Late March to Early April

    Cherry Blossom

    Japanese people extremely love cherry blossoms. In March, we are looking forward to enjoying cherry blossoms in full bloom. The Japan Weather Association and several private weather information companies announce the forecasts of the opening dates when five or six flowers bloom on sample Yoshino cherry trees and the peak bloom dates on which 80 percent of the blossoms of the trees are open in the season. The Yoshino with good appearance is recognized to be the most popular cherry tree variety. It grows very fast and is easy to grow, but it is said to have a short life span of sixty years, compared with wild mountain cherry trees having a life span of hundreds of years. The flowers of the Yoshino cherry trees open before their leaves come out. During the season, places famous for cherry blossom viewing across Japan are alive with people having a picnic under blooming trees and taking pictures of cherry blossoms.

    Recommended Places

    Kakuzan Park (Tsuyama Castle), Ibara Zutsumi, Asahi River Sakura-michi Walk, Okayama Korakuen Garden & Handayama Botanical Garden

  • Tree Peony at Kibitsu Shrine

    Late April

    Tree Peony

    It is a deciduous shrub. In a Japanese proverb, the tree peony has been used as a synonym for a beautiful woman along with the Chinese peony and the lily. It has been regarded as the king of flowers in China since the olden days. Many paintings and ceramics in the motif of tree peonies can be found in Japanese culture.

    Recommended Places

    Kibitsu Shrine & Handayama Botanical Garden

  • Wisterias of Fuji Park in Wake

    Late April to Early May

    Wisteria

    The wisteria which has be loved by Japanese people for a long time produces drooping clusters having pale purple, white or pink flowers with single or double petals. There are many varieties, each with different characteristics of form, size, habit, blossom color, and blooming periods. There are things about wisteria flowers that are written in the Kojiki, the Records of Ancient Matters, which was presented to Empress Genmei in 712 and is the oldest historical documents in Japan. In addition to flower viewing, wisteria arbors are installed to block the sunlight and to be used for resting in many parks.

    Recommended Places

    Fuji Park of Wake Town & Tsurugata-yama Hill (Achi Shrine)

  • Tsutsuji in Okayama Korakuen Garden

    Late April to Early May

    Tsutsuji: Japanese Azalea

    We call Japanese azaleas excluding azaleas improved in Europe and the United States "Tsutsuji". Wild evergreen Tsutsujis grow naturally only in East Asia, including Japan. The Satsuki azalea is a variety of Tsutsuji. In Japan, they are distinguished from each other according to the flowering time. The flowers and the leaves of the Tsutsuji are larger than those of the Satsuki azalea and it blooms one month earlier than the Satsuki azalea. Tsutsujis are widely planted in streets, parks and gardens such as temple gardens and shrine ones. They color these places with their bright flowers.

    Recommended Places

    Okayama Korakuen Garden, Handayama Botanical Garden, Raikyuji Temple & Nozaki's Historical Residence

  • Tsutsuji in Garden of Raikyuji Temple

    May

    Chinese Milk Vetch

    It had been planted in rice paddy fields in autumn of the preceding year before rice planting to be used as a green manure throughout Japan. It had been a special spring feature in the countryside until several decades ago when chemical fertilizers became popularized. It is the official flower of Soja City where Bitchu Kokubunji Temple is located. During its season, the flowers are found in various parts of the city.

    Recommended Place

    Bitchu Kokubunji Temple

  • Chinese peonies in Hirokane House

    Mid-May

    Chinese Peony

    It is a perennial plant. It is clearly distinguished from the tree peony in Japan unlike in Western countries. The flowers of Chinese peonies are a little smaller than those of tree peonies and the leaves are glossy and rounded overall while those of tree peonies are not glossy and serrated.

    Recommended Place

    Hirokane Residence

  • Roses

    May & October

    Rose

    The rose for ornament is written in Kokin Wakashu, or Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry, the first anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command in early 10th century while the rose with a focus on its thorn is shown in Manyoshu, or Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves, the oldest extant collection of poems in Japan, compiled from the late 7th century to the late 8th century. Japan is known as one of the natural habitats for roses. Modern roses are derived from some roses native to Japan and those of some other countries in Asia, including China. After World War II, roses became popular among common people like these days in Japan. Roses are hardly found in the traditional gardens of Japanese castles, temples and shrines.

    Recommended Place

    Handayama Botanical Garden & Hikasa Rose Garden

  • Satsuki Azaleas in the Garden of Raikyuji Temple

    Early June

    Satsuki Azalea

    Satsuki is the old Japanese name of May. It is named because the Satsuki azalea blooms in May of the old lunar calendar. It is a variety of Tsutsuji, Japanese azaleas. In Japan, the Satsuki azalea and the Tsutsuji are distinguished from each other according to the flowering time. The flowers and the leaves of the Satsuki azalea are smaller than those of the Tsutsuji and the flowers bloom one month later than the Tsutsuji. Satsuki azaleas grow wild in rocky ravines. They firmly take roots to prevent themselves from flowing by torrent water. The Satsuki azalea varying in colors, shapes, sizes and patterns is one of the most popular flowering bonsai trees.

    Recommended Places

    Okayama Korakuen Garden, Handayama Botanical Garden, Raikyuji Temple & Nozaki's Historical Residence

  • Water Lilies in Shurakuen Garden

    June to July

    Water Lily

    The series of paintings entitled Water-Lilies by Claude Monet are very popular in Japan as well. At Ohara Museum of Art located in Kurashiki City, there are water lilies divided and transplanted from the pond of Claude Monet's Residence to that of the museum to commemorate the 70th anniversary in the year 2,000. They are best viewed from June to October. In Tsuyama City, the large pond situated in the center of Shurakuen Garden is covered with water lilies. The water lilies at Ohara Museum of Art are at their best from late May to late October

    Recommended Places

    Shurakuen Garden & Ohara Museum of Art

  • Hydrangeas at Chohoji Temple

    Late June to Early July

    Hydrangea

    The hydrangea is a typical plant that blooms in the East Asian rainy season in Japan. There are two types of hydrangeas. One is characterized by the flat shape of the flower and the other has the characteristic in its hemispherical shape. The former is the original hydrangea of Japan and the latter is Western hydrangea which was improved in Europe around the late 18th century, gaining a lot of popularity in UK and other European countries and reimported to Japan. There are a lot of shrines and temples famous for hydrangea, called "Hydrangea Shrine" or "Hydrangea Temple" throughout Japan. Tourists and local people enjoy its elegant beauty.

    Recommended Places

    Kibitsu Shrine, Chohoji Temple & Handayama Botanical Garden

  • Lotus Blooms in Okayama Korakuen Garden

    Late June to Early July

    Lotus Bloom

    It is said that lotuses were imported from India to Japan by way of China together with Buddhist scriptures in the 5th century. It is believed, in Buddhism, to blossom in the Land of Happiness. The subterranean stem of a lotus, named renkon in Japanese, that swells and stores rich nourishment such as vitamin C, fiber and polyphenol, is cultivated chiefly for food in Japan and China.

    Recommended Place

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

  • Chrysanthemums in Okayama Korakuen Garden

    Mid-October to Mid-November

    Chrysanthemum

    The chrysanthemum is used as the national emblem on the front covers of passports issued by the Japanese government. It is considered a national flower of Japan along with cherry blossom although they are not defined by law. The Japanese imperial crest is in the shape of a chrysanthemum. The perennial plant is popular among the Japanese as an imperial flower. Meanwhile, some people believe it brings bad luck under some circumstances because it is displayed at Buddhist ritual funeral ceremonies and Buddhist memorial ceremonies. That is just superstition. But it is a faux pas to visit sick persons with the flowers.

    Recommended Places

    Okayama Castle & Okayama Korakuen Garden