Gorgeous photographs and video prove the sakura aren’t the only stars of Japanese flora.

Like a lot of expats, when I first moved to Japan one of the things I was looking forward to the most was seeing cherry blossoms. But I arrived in August, which meant I had several months of waiting until sakura season, which usually doesn’t start in earnest until April.

But that February I learned that cherry blossoms aren’t the only beautiful flowers in Japan, or even the only beautiful pink flowers.

This week, Japanese photographer and Twitter user @YutoPhotography visited Suzuka Forest Garden in his home prefecture of Mie. Waiting for him there was the breathtaking sight of the park’s grove of more than 200 plum, or ume, in Japanese, trees with their flowers in full bloom.

Ume can range in color from white to a deep, almost-purple pink. The ones from @YutoPhotography’s photos fall somewhere towards the midpoint of the scale, and the way the branches of the shidare ume (“weeping plum”) trees elegantly angle towards the ground, where a blanket of petals lies, is as stunningly gorgeous as anything you’ll see at Japan’s famous cherry blossom-viewing spots.

Ume can bloom any time between mid-February and mid-March, depending on the exact variety. The ones at Suzuka Forest Park look to be approaching their peak, and the park is even open on select nights so that visitors can come in and bask in the beauty of the flowers against the night sky, as shown off by other visitors and the park’s official Twitter account.

▼ The official Twitter account’s most recent photo, taken March 13

So while we’re all excited about the sakura being just around the corner, ume seasons isn’t half-bad either.

Park information
Suzuka Forest Garden / 鈴鹿森庭園
Address: Mie-ken, Suzuka-shi, Yamamoto-cho 151-2
三重県鈴鹿市山本町151−2
Admission 500-1,500 yen (varies by exact date)
Website

Source, images: Twitter/@YutoPhotography

Follow Casey on Twitter, where home he’s ever lived in in Japan has been within walking distance of a plum tree garden.