February in Kyoto is truly freezing. However, during the cold windy days, sometimes we feel a slight hint of spring.
At the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden (京都御苑, a garden which surrounds Gosho Imperial Palace), a place for recreation for Kyoto residents, plum flowers are starting to bloom.
People go to Hanami (花見, cherry blossom viewing) in spring, but in fact, Hamani meant plum flower viewing in the Heian era under the influence of China. The cherry tree planted in front of Shishinden (紫宸殿, the most important ceremonial building within the Kyoto Gosho Imperial palace grounds) is called Sakon no sakura (左近の桜), however, a plum tree called Sakon no ume (左近の梅) was there at the very same spot and was replaced by the cherry tree at the time of a big fire of Gosho Palace.
Plum blossoms, a subtle beauty, attract us with their sweet scent and delicate form, a lovely reminder that spring draws near.
3 mins from Imadegawa station, subway karasuma line