With spring comes the blossoming of many flowers across Japan. I’ve come to learn that appreciating the changing of seasons and enjoying the blossoms is very ingrained in Japanese culture, something that I myself have come to really appreciate. In the February and March stretches, plum blossoms are the flower to view, so I found a wonderful Plum Forest in Ogose and visited their Plum Blossom Festival.
Ogose Plum Forest
To get to Ogose, you’ll need to hop on the Tobu Tojo (caught at Ikebukuro Station if you’re coming from Tokyo) and ride to Sakado Station, where you’ll transfer over to the Ogose train. From the station, you can take a bus to get to the plum forest, but my recommendation is to walk along the river. They have this lovely walking path you can take from the station almost the entire way down to where the forest is, with only about 5 minutes walking along the main road at the end. Just exit the station and head right down the small road to reach the start of the walking path. The walk itself takes around 40 minutes, so if that seems a bit daunting, the buses come about every 30-40 minutes.
Ogose Plum Blossom Festival
The festival itself has a nice selection of shows and performances but the real draw is, of course, watching the plum blossoms. The grove itself is very long; what I thought was the entire forest was only the front third! They have pink, red, white, and various other shades of plum blossoms for you to view.
here is a large wooden tower you can climb to get some nice aerial views of the forest in the middle of it all. There were also a variety of food vendors, but many of them were closed. I think that had more to do with it being a Tuesday afternoon more than anything else. I imagine there would be more to purchase on a weekend, as there are more visitors during that time.
The gift shops have many plum blossom bonsai trees you can buy, as well as full-sized trees ready to plant in your yard. You can also get a large variety of plum snacks, such as plum cakes, candies, and pickled plum (umeboshi), with its intense salty-sour flavor. Most shops also have samples you can try in small boxes so don’t be shy if you’re not sure it’s for you!
It’s a sleepy town with a lovely set of plum forests and yuzu groves to check. If you have time and are around in season, give Ogose a go!