Ume plum blossom is starting to bloom now in Japan and marks the start of Hanami or flower viewing. Ume represents good fortune and wards off evil spirits so this is why you can often see it planted at temples and shrines. One festival which happens every year is at Kitano Tenmangu Shinto Shrine in Kyoto. It is the Ume Matsuri it happens on February the 25th. One of the main attractions of this event is the outdoor tea ceremony. On the grounds are around 2000 Ume trees so well worth a view if your in the area. Sadly I am not so I decided to celebrate the start of spring with a plum blossom inspired meal.
Temari sushi with Ume seasoning and hoso maki sushi.
Purple sweet potato and cauliflower soup.
Pickled red cabbage and hijiki salad with Ume dressing.
Purple broccoli with a beetroot and miso dip.
Anko with marzipan flowers.
I also received to day in the post a wonderful subscription box by a company in Japan called Kizuna Box ( you can find them on Instagram for the link ). This also had a plum blossom theme and was filled with lots of lovely items to celebrate the beginning of spring. I particularly liked the chop sticks ( I wonder why )