Japan is a country that really values nature. In this issue of ACCESS, I would like to introduce you to a few flowers that represent Japan.
The first flower I would like to introduce to you is Tsubaki, or Camellia. Camellia flowers bloom from winter to spring and range in color from white to pink to red. It is often used to symbolize spring in haiku. Camellia flowers were treasured by the Japanese since ancient times. One unusual characteristic of the Camellia flower is that unlike most flowers that die petal by petal, the head of the flower simply falls off with all the petals still attached. Camellias can be seen in various areas in the prefecture during this time of the year. Hagi even has a Camellia flower festival.
Ume, or plum blossoms are also a symbol of spring, blooming in late winter to early spring. The flowers vary in color from white to bright pink. You may be familiar with the fruit, which is used for umeboshi, or pickled plum, often used in rice balls. Plum blossoms are the symbol of all Tenmangu temples in Japan including the one in Hofu.
Last but not least, Japan’s most famous - the cherry blossom. So important that there is a special time of the year set aside to observe their beauty. Plum blossoms were popular than cherry blossoms in ancient times until the Heian Era. Cherry blossoms not only represent spring, but Mono no Aware, which describes deep, Japanese emotions towards things they encounter in the outside world. Cherry blossom season is usually early April. Cherry blossoms bloom in various areas of Yamaguchi including Tokiwa Park, Meiji Restoration Memorial Park, and Kintai Bridge.