2023.02.13Mito Plum Festival 2023 in Kairakuen Garden, Mito

In Japan, February-March is the blooming season of plums, the less-famous but no less-charming spring friend of the well-known sakura. Unlike the Japanese cherry blossoms, the delicate, gentle plum flowers are not placed so densely on the tree branches, which creates that enchanting moment of “wabi-sabi”, so intrinsic to Japanese traditional culture.

The most-known places to admire plum blossoms is Kairaku-en Garden in Mito city, Ibaraki. Laid out in 1842, Kairaku-en, along with Kenroku-en and Koraku-en, is recognized as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Local daimyo, Nariaki Tokugawa, established Kairaku-en as a publicly open garden to be enjoyed by common people, along with feudal lords, samurai, and vassals, following the Confucian concept that samurai should not only study hard but also make time for rest and leisure. (Back then, Mito Domain was known throughout the country due to an influential samurai study, Mitogaku.)

One of the Kairaku-en gems is a plum groove overlooking Lake Senba, with about 3000 trees of a hundred varieties! For more than 120 years the Mito Plum Festival has been held here – people from all over the country come to admire the tender blossom blaze shimmering with shades of white and pink. Plums growing here are early, mid, and late blooming, which provides an opportunity to admire the blossoming for a longer period.
Various events and activities are held in the garden and within the city during the Mito Plum Festival. Performances of martial arts by members of Tobukan (the dojo which is carrying on the martial arts legacy of  Kodokan, one of the largest samurai schools back in the Edo period), tea ceremonies held by masters of different tea schools, a night candlelight art installation in the Garden, fireworks, and even the Japan Umeshu (plum liqueur) Festival offering to taste over 140 varieties of this traditional alcohol brought from over the country ー these and other events can be enjoyed along with admiring the plum blossoms.


Mito Plum Festival (水戸梅まつり)


When: From 11 February (Sat) to 19 March (Sun)

Time, dates, fees, and locations vary depending on the festival events.

Where: Mito, Ibaraki 

Main locations and fees: 

   ① Kairaiku-en Garden, 1-1251 Migawa, Mito

Adults ¥300, children until 15 years ¥150, elderly people ¥150

※ A system of discounts and free admission is applicable.

Website (En):

   ② Tokiwa Jinja Shrine (Japan Umeshu Festival), 1 Chome-3-1 Tokiwacho, Mito

Advance tickets ¥1,100, on-the-spot tickets ¥1,200, fast-pass tickets (limited quantity) ¥1,600

Website (Jap):

   ③ Kodokan (plum blossoms, martial arts performances), 1 Chome-6-29 Sannomaru, Mito

Free of charge 

Website (En):


More information about Mito Plum Festival (Jap):