Tokyo views – flowers in February

Winter is usually the quiet season for my pollen allergies, but they kicked into overload a couple of days ago and left me scrambling to understand what could possibly be driving them. On my walk home from Shinagawa station today I took a slightly different route and found out the answer – Prunus mume, aka “Japanese Apricot” or “Chinese Plum,” has started to bloom.

The tree I found in bloom was part of the landscaping on the south side of an office building, well shielded from wind and with direct sun for much of the day. A neighboring tree was just starting to break bud. Trees on the same planting but with less sun and less wind protection are still looking very dormant.

I am not used to plants blooming at this time of year. I am still shocked to see the odd Camellia blossom, but those are essentially leftovers from the autumn. Trees breaking bud and actually blossoming at this time of year is new to me. The joy of travel… even if it means I need to go back on my allergy pills a little earlier than I expected.

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