Ome is a municipality in northwestern Tokyo Prefecture, on the river Tamagawa, and interestingly the very name of this city means "green plum," demonstrating an old link with the "Ume" or plum tree. Not surprisingly, it is an area where traditionally plum trees are grown and where the fruit in pickled form is sold as umeboshi. (Rice with a pickled plum on top is called a Hinomaru Bento, because it resembles the Japanese flag: a red circle on white).
[Yoshino Baigo, Ome]
The name Yoshino Baigo points at several large and small plum tree parks that lie south of the Yoshino Kaido Road. 25,000 plum trees have been planted here, and in season their delicate fragrance comes wafting from all sides through the air. The fame of the area for plum viewing goes back to Edo times, and there are many old trees, too. The best place for flower viewing is the 40,000 square meter large plum tree park (Ume no Koen), where 1,500 trees stand in pleasantly hilly terrain.
[Yoshino Baigo, Ome]
Afterwards, take a leisurely scroll in the area along what has been dubbed "Plum Viewing Road" (Kambai-dori) among farmhouses selling plum trees for your garden as well as pickled plums. From the park, there is a pleasant walking route to the rustic house and garden of popular author Yoshikawa Eiji, of Musashi fame. And still further on, in Mitake, stands the a small museum dedicated to the gentle paintings of Kawai Gyokudo, who often painted the scenery of Ome... or you can climb the mountain to the hoary Mitake Shrine.
Access to Yoshino Baigo:
Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Tachikawa Station and transfer to the Ome Line to Hinawada Station (on Sundays there are some direct trains as well). From Hinawada station, it is a 15 min walk to the Yoshino Baigo plum tree park (follow the road over the bridge that leads straight on to the hills). Entrance free.
Access to the Yoshikawa Eiji House:
After seeing the park, follow the signs pointing to Yoshikawa Eiji's museum. You will walk over small roads, among houses and farmhouses interspersed with more plum trees and small parks. The hills should be on your left and the Yoshino Kaido Road on your right. It is only a 30 min walk to Yoshikawa Eiji House & Museum.