An ocean of white blossoms heralds the beginning of spring. No, this is not an early sakura but it is ume, the Japanese plum. In February ume (Prunus mume or Japanese apricot, often translated as Japanese plum) is in full bloom. Time for your first picnic of the year!
At the Kishu Ishigami Tanabe Ume Orchards in the south of Wakayama Prefecture more than 300,000 ume trees cover the hillsides that stretch out right to the Pacific Ocean in the distance. The view is breath-taking!
Being in full bloom in February, they mark the beginning of the New Year according to the Lunar Calendar (Chinese New Year) and, just after Setsubun, the beginning of spring.
The best way to celebrate this beautiful spring season at Kansai’s top ume viewing spot is the same as you would do for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing: get your bento and a couple of drinks and join the locals under the ume trees. Don’t forget to wrap up warm!
CORONA Note: Unfortunately, in 2021 the ume orchards will not be open to visitors. Let’s enjoy Tanabe Ume Orchard photos and look forward to visiting in the coming years.
Kii-Tanabe can be reached by JR Kuroshio Train from Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and Tennoji.
The Tanabe Tourism Office, located right next to Tanabe Station, provides detailed information.
Usually, a 2.5 hour Charter Taxi/Jumbo Taxi Tour to the Kishu Ishigami Tanabe Plum Orchards is available. You can book at the Tanabe Tourism Office.
Find out more about Kumano Kodo.
Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann
Founder of Kii Monogatari, my story and the story of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Originally from East Germany, I came to Tokyo, via Berlin and London, in 2005. In summer 2011 I moved by choice to remote Kumano in the south of the Kii Peninsula where I live, work and play now, and explore every da...