Ume garden in Minabe
Minabe in Wakayama-ken (和歌山県みなべ町) is famous for its Ume trees. The Umeboshi from Minabe are paticularly famous. The second day of our trip around Minabe was dedicated to the Ume garden 梅林 there. For the first day see Around Shirahama.
After a filling breakfast and a visit to our friends home to and playing around a bit with their children, we set of for the nearby Ume grove 梅林. Contrary to the previous day we were blessed with even warmer weather and no wind at all, allowing a relaxed and easy hike through the grove.
The entrance map was quite detailed including calorie information, but what is it I am pointing at?
The hills here are filled everywhere with Ume trees. These trees, part of the Prunus mume family, commonly referred to as Japanese apricot, are blooming very early, usually in February in Japan, in a range of weak colors from white to slightly pink to reddish. Like the more famous twins, the Sakura blossoming, it attracts a healthy crowd of Japanese, enjoying the views while picnicking away.
In Minabe, supposedly the biggest producer of Umeboshi in Japan, there are so many Ume trees that from some view points there is nothing but trees and the sky, 一目百万本.
After two relaxed hours in the groove we had back to the house of our friends, spend more time with the kids, before taking the train back to Kanazawa.
A wonderful weekend, full of beautiful and new impressions, I will surely come back to explore the area in more depth, there is still the pilgrimage routes of the area, listed as World Heritage sites. Especially the pilgrimage route to Koyasan I would like to walk at some point.
After five long hours on the trains we are back in chilly Kanazawa, where snow, ice, and a flat with 6 degrees is waiting for us. Fortunately we brought enough Umeshu and Ume-brandy to keep us warm!
More photos of the full trip at the gallery: Minabe Wakayama February 2013.