Keio Mogusaen's Plum Blossoms
What comes to mind when you think of spring? For many people in Japan, plum blossoms are a signal that the chilly winter months have finally passed. The plum’s delicate clouds of little white flowers resemble Japan’s ever-popular sakura blossoms, so it comes as little surprise that they’re a favorite of poets and artists.
While you can find plums in bloom all around Hino City during February and early March, there’s one place in particular you can’t miss: Keio Mogusaen. Located high up in the hills, the Keio Mogusaen gardens have long been capturing poets’ hearts with their breathtaking view of the area. With a month-long Plum Festival and more varieties of plum trees than I’d ever heard of, Keio Mogusaen is one of the hottest spots for plum blossom viewing in Hino.
How does Keio Mogusaen raise their plums? For the most part they let Mother Nature do things her way, but they take care to prune branches and add supports to trees at risk of falling or snapping. When coupled with a mix of early-blooming and late-blooming plum varieties, this natural method helps to prolong the plum viewing season. Keio Mogusaen also keeps track of the plums’ progress from little bubble-shaped buds to delicate springtime blossoms on their website, adding new photographs every few days.
Plum blossoms typically come in one of three colors: white, pink, or red. While pure white blossoms are the most common overall, there are also plum species where you can find two different colors on the same branch! The particular variety I photographed is called omoi-no-mama, which means “however it pleases” in Japanese. As the name would suggest, you never know what color the flowers will be. Sometimes, you’ll even find a flower with petals half one color and half the other!
Though the plum season is getting close to its end, the gardens will soon be greeted by countless other flowers to see. If you stop by now, you’ll likely find iris and Japanese camellias. In the next month or two, there will also be rhododendrons, peonies, and sakura blooming among plenty of other seasonal flora. If you’re around this spring, Keio Mogusaen is definitely worth a visit!
Location: 560 Mogusa, Hino City, Tokyo 191-0033
- Keio Mogusaen does not have a public parking lot. You can reach the gardens by walking or taking a taxi from the closest train station, Mogusaen Station, which is accessible on the Keio train line.
- Keio Mogusaen is located high in the hills. If you choose to walk from Mogusaen Station, be prepared to walk up steep inclines on the way.
Hours: 9:00 am through 5:00 pm
- Keio Mogusaen is closed on Wednesdays. If a national holiday falls on a Wednesday, Keio Mogusaen will be closed on the Thursday after the holiday.
- Keio Mogusaen closes at 4:30 pm during November and December.
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Phone (Direct Line): 042-514-8098
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Address: Hino City Hall, 3th Floor
1-12-1 Shinmei, Hino, Tokyo 191-8686
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