Spring is a popular time to visit Japan to view flowers such as cherry blossoms. However, cherry blossoms don’t only bloom in spring, they also bloom in the winter! While you may not associate winter with flowers blooming, many seasonal displays of flowers are expected in Japan. Here are some winter flowers besides spring cherry blossoms that grow!
Fuyuzakura are white, single-flowered, medium-sized cherry blossoms. The flowers are medium-sized in fall and winter but become more prominent in spring. They are planted all over Japan, but Sakurayama Park in Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture, is especially famous for its many trees. The best time to view them is mid-November to mid-December.
Shikizakura are white and pink, single-flowered, medium-sized cherry blossoms. While the name suggests they bloom throughout the year, they don’t bloom in summer. They are planted all over Japan, but the Obara area of Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is especially famous for its cherry blossom scenery. The best times to see the flowers are in November and March.
Plum blossoms typically bloom earlier than cherry blossoms, sometimes as early as January. When plum blossoms start flowering in February, it is usually a good sign that warmer weather is coming. One variety of plum blossoms seen in winter is the Winter Solstice Plum. This variety of flowers from mid-December to mid-February is excellent for New Year’s decorations.
Camellia flowers have a long history in Japan. Some earliest mentions of the camellia flower have been found in the Manyoshu (oldest collection of Japanese poetry). Since ancient times, the flower’s wood has been used to make utensils and sculptures. The seeds were also used to make cosmetic oil, such as the well-known hair product – camellia hair oil!
These flowers are grown throughout many seasons in Japan, but winter is considered the most favorable time for many! In Japan, there are 2000 varieties. However, the two popular types are camellia japonica and snow camellia. Many people like to grow camellia flowers in winter so that the color of the flowers can beautifully contrast with the snow.
The different colors of camellia have different meanings. Red camellias mean understated splendor or humble virtue. Pink camellias mean modest beauty or modest love. White camellias mean perfect beauty or supreme loveliness. Camellia flowers are perfect to give as a gift, especially during Valentine’s Day!
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Peonies typically bloom in spring, but some varieties also bloom in winter. These varieties are called “kan” and “fuyu”. Kan peonies typically have no leaves, whereas fuyu peonies are known for their lush leaves. This is because fuyu peonies are usually grown in spring-like conditions or slightly warmer places in Japan. Sometimes, some farmers or shrines make a warabocchi (straw covering) to keep the flowers warm and protect them from frost.
One of the best places to see warabocchi with peonies is the Winter Peony Festival at Ueno Toshogu Garden. The shrine showcases around 40 types of 200 winter peonies.
Peonies are associated with good luck for the New Year, as the flower means wealth.
Different colors of the peonies also have additional meanings. Red peonies mean royalty or luxury, but they can also mean deep love. Purple peonies mean wealth or elegance. Pink Peonies mean shyness. These various meanings of the flowers can help convey your love to your crush during Valentine’s Day or White Day!
Although native to the Mediterranean, daffodils are thought to have come to Japan through China. There are many different varieties of daffodils, so the flowering time depends on the type, some bloom as early as mid to late November. Others typically bloom from January to April. Since daffodils resist the cold, they are considered auspicious flowers. Some people display the flowers at home during the new year to bring good luck.
The different colors of the daffodils also have various meanings. Yellow daffodils mean “Please love me again” or “Come back to me.” White daffodils mean respect or mystery, and pink daffodils mean elegant. Giving daffodils as a gift for celebrations such as birthdays or openings (like store openings) is recommended.
Cherry blossoms are gorgeous flowers, but they’re rarer during the winter. However, many other beautiful flowers exist, such as camellias, tree peonies, and daffodils. In snowier regions of Japan, these flowers provide beautiful scenery against the snow. Some of these flowers also have romantic meanings, which can be great for Valentine’s Day! What are your favorite flowers? Let us know in the comments below!
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