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The Japanese hanami season comes alive in April of each year, where millions of photographs showing the same tree appear online, all celebrating the pink cutesy cheery blossom, a tree that for some holds the metaphor for the beauty of living, due to its short life span and incredible beauty , for others it’s a chance to eat, get drunk and take selfies .

But before the sakura, the pre season warm up starts
with the ume (plum blossom) the not so famous cousin of the cherry blossom, although to the untrained eye look pretty similar. This is where the Japanese natives hone there photo and sitting under a tree techniques, ready for the main event.

A popular myth about the sakura tree is that the reason the blossom is pink is due to a dead body being buried directly underneath the tree. A less well know myth about the plum blossom is its hypnotic effect on whoever views it. know as ume synthesis, the viewer will go into a trance like state, due to a reaction from the pollen when inhaled, where crude vivid colors penetrate the eyes and for a brief period, alter the conscious state of who ever is effected, giving a feeling of dazed euphoria.This is said to bring the world of humans and nature closer together .

The photos here were taken at one of the three great gardens of Japan
Kairaku-en, Situated in MITO Ibaraki prefecture.