Japan's Seasons In Photos: May - Flowers And Children's Day
May is the month when the most beautiful flowers go in bloom. Join the local festivals celebrating wisterias, irises, azaleas, and other gorgeous flowers. Children's Day is also celebrated in May with stunning traditional kite displays.
May - When All the Flowers Go in Bloom
May, when day temperatures rise to about 20 degrees Celsius, is one of the most pleasant times of the year to visit Japan. This is the season when the most beautiful flowers go in bloom.
May in Japan is associated with Children's Day, celebrated each year on May 5. Take a look at the pictures in this essay to get an image of what you can expect to see around this time of the year in Japan.
Children's Day - Traditional Kite Displays
Children's Day is a great celebration in Japan, with the festivities starting at least two or three weeks before May 5, the actual Children's Day.
Families with boys display carp-shaped kites called koinobori before their homes. Carps are considered auspicious creatures because they are strong enough to swim against the stream. These kites are a visible expression of the parents' wish for their children to grow strong and healthy.
Originally a traditional boys' festival, Children's Day is now a celebration of all children. Girls have a traditional festival of their own on March 3 called Hina matsuri (Dolls' Festival).
If you visit Japan in May, you'll be able to large scale, public displays of koinobori. They are usually handmade by the local community out of the wish to keep the century-long Japanese tradition of celebrating children.
Flowers Blooming in May
May corresponds to late spring when most of the flowers are in bloom. This is what makes this month a dearly awaited time of the year.
Here are some of the flowers that you can enjoy viewing in May.
Soon after the cherry blossoms scatter, the azaleas go in bloom. They are an explosion of vibrant pink and white-pink hues, bringing a splash of color to the grayish landscape that gradually turns green.
Azaleas are celebrated through festivals held in public gardens and parks. The Azalea Festival at Nezu Shrine is one of the most popular events of this kind in Tokyo.
Nemophila, or Baby Blue Eyes, have become increasingly popular in recent years with their delicate, transparent features. In Tokyo, you can view nemophila in Hibiya Park or at the Showa Memorial Park.
The most famous place to view nemophila in Japan, however, is, of course, the Hitachi Seaside Park, a large public garden in Ibaraki.
Wisterias in bloom are another occasion for the Japanese to go out in the park and marvel at the flowers. The grace of the purple blooms creating soft curtains that gently sway in the wind has been admired in Japan since ancient times. Images of wisteria decorate lacquerware and other craft items, not to mention that they are a constant motif in painting and woodcut prints.
Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi is a famous location for viewing wisterias. In Tokyo, the Wisteria Festival at Kameido Tenjinja Shrine has become a dearly awaited annual event.
Irises are loved in Japan just as much as cherry blossoms and red maple leaves. These flowers have been mentioned in old poems and stories ever since the early Heian period (794-1185).
Famous iris gardens include those of Meiji Jingu Shrine and the Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo. Yokohama's Sankeien Garden is also a wonderful spot to enjoy viewing the irises.
Visit Japan in May and Relish the Flowers!
We hope these images convinced you to consider visiting Japan in May, the month of national celebrations and the season when the most beautiful flowers are in bloom! Join the festivals and share the joy of the locals celebrating spring.
Photos by Monami I
Text by Ramona