Ome Ume Omiyage

Trip Start Jul 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Sunday, March 28, 2010

After the dismal weather I got for my excursion to Mito, Mother Nature felt sorry for me and provided a stunningly beautiful day one week later, when I went with some friends to Ome for the local festival.

Ome is in Tokyo Prefecture, but way out west, where the land starts to get mountainous.  To get there, you need to take the Chuo line (one of the main train lines in Tokyo), then change to a small, local train.  In fact, the station nearest the park with all the plum trees is so small that there is only one track, used by trains going in both directions.  And since it was a Sunday, and there was a festival going on, and it was prime blossom-viewing time, it was naturally packed.  On the train, my friend Kimberly and I struck up a conversation with an old woman who was pressed up against us when more people packed themselves into the train.

As much as I love plum blossoms, I must admit that from afar, they're not half as dramatic as cherry blossoms; instead of blooming in great masses, plum trees put forth delicate flowers, so that from a distance, the trees seemed to be draped in lace, rather than appearing to be giant puffs of cotton candy, the way cherry trees do.  But in Ome, a whole hillside is covered with plum trees, and there are enough of them that you can see the colour from a distance.  This all pales in comparison with the scent, however.  When you're in the park, especially on a warm day like that one, the gentlest breeze carries the sweet fragrance of thousands of plum blossoms.  I could have sat there all day, just smelling it!

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