Plum Blossom

We’ve all heard about Japan’s famous cherry blossoms, but towards the end of February, the plum blossoms start to bloom in Kyoto, preceding the cherry blossoms by a few weeks.

The fabulously named Kyotoites welcome the arrival of the plum blossoms with something approaching religious fervour and why not? From early February, Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, first built in 947 to appease the angry spirit of the bureaucrat, scholar and poet Michizane, opens its famous plum garden and crowds descend on it to admire the pink and white blossoms which were Michizane’s favourite tree.

The Plum Blossom Festival is held on 25 February, coinciding with a monthly flea market at the Shrine. The Plum Blossom Festival has been held on the same day every year for about 900 years (no joking 900 years) to mark the death of Michizane.

No prizes for guessing that my wrapping paper is Japanese paper. I am just beginning to learn all the different sorts of Japanese paper so I must discipline myself to ask the source of the paper when I buy it. Lots more homework to do in this regard. I also decided I would employ the beautiful Japanese art of paper pleating on this wrap. I was relatively pleased with the result but still have a way to go with the precision. Embellishing such beautiful paper hardly seems necessary…so I  left this little packet without the gold ribbon – to pick up the gold highlights in the paper -that I was so longing to put on it.