Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Plum Blossoms of Kitano Tenmangu

Japan gets a jump on spring, as blossoms of ume open on bare branches.


Prunus mume, plum blossoms, Japan’s harbinger of spring

We remember the first blooming plants of the year in March: crocus, then a bit later the daffodils, quince and forsythia. Our birthday falls in late February, dank and colorless, when the best you could hope for was a mild wind.

Some year, not this one, we are determined to celebrate our birthday in Japan, where late February is a time to relish instead of just endure.  White, pink, red (sometimes, yellow) the plum trees bloom now, their five-petalled flowers opening in happy defiance along bare black branches.

In Kyoto last fall for the first time, we insisted on visiting Kitano Tenmangu, a Shinto shrine in the northern part of the city. Our Goodwill Guides, Minori Goto and Moe Honjo, were a little perplexed at this choice – a time-consuming trip, meaning we’d have to forego the city’s greater glories. But we were fascinated by a Shinto shrine dedicated to a scholar: Sugawara no Michizane (845-903).

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Posted by Julie on 02/23 at 10:39 PM
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