By the end of the Kamakura Period the people were already familiar with this plum forest from a song left behind by Prince Munenaga, son of Emperor Godaigo. Some 10,000 trees filled with white plum blossoms cover an area of about 20 hectare, emitting their fragrance throughout the surroundings. The grand Plum Festival is held during the plum blossom season each year from mid-February to mid-March. During this time people are allowed into this plum forest, which is normally off limits. This is the biggest fruit-bearing plum forest in Kyoto Prefecture. The various products made from the fruit are sold on the spot during the Plum Festival. The Plum Festival in Aodani Bairin has a catchphrase - 'Spring starts in Joyo', and indeed, that may seem the case. This festival has been held every year since 1984, and for each festival, about twenty-thousand people come from various parts of the Keihan area to participate. The plum trees in Aodani Bairin don’t only serve to please the eye, though; there are many products made from the fruit of the trees. The plum trees are mainly divided into large plums and small plums; the large plums are used to make a Joyo specialty, plum sake, or Japanese sweets; the small plums are known for their crunchy taste and are dried and eaten as snacks or in other ways. In all, about 160 tons of plums are made, and an eighth of them are exported to the Kyoto and Nagoya areas.
Category:Travel and Places
Keywords:Aodani Bairin, Japan, Joyo City, Kyoto, Munenaga Shinno, Naka Tenman jinja, Plum Blossom festival, Ryuufuku Shrine, Ume, 市辺天満神社, 青谷梅林, 龍福寺