Like many cultural symbols of Japan, the Japanese plum tree has its roots in China. The trees were introduced from China during the Nara period (710–794 AD). Upon their arrival they became the original spring flower to view while picnicking under the trees in spring – the tradition of “hanami/花見”. However, today the plum blossom is both eclipsed by and sometimes confused with its sister symbol of Japanese spring, the cherry blossom (桜の花). Plum blossoms are an important symbol in Japanese culture as they represent hope and vitality to reassure all that despite the lingering winter cold, warmer weather is on the way. Plum blossom festivals (梅まつり) are held throughout the country.
At dawn, walking along the mountain path, as if I was invited by the scent of plum blossoms, the morning sunrise suddenly appeared from the other side of the mountain.