Jan 7, 2019

January fragrance, Wintersweet

January fragrance, Wintersweet photoThis morning, I decided to make the most of the sunshine and go for a bike ride. On my way through the Kamihanawa neighborhood of Noda City, I was whizzing past the heritage house when I caught a whiff of a sweet scent. 

January fragrance, Wintersweet photo

I made a few passes on the road, following my nose to this tall shrub in a garden nearby. 

Was it a plum tree? It’s too early for plum trees, I realized. So I asked my lovely constellation of friends and learned it’s 蝋梅 robai, also called Japanese allspice and wintersweet

This shrub was imported from China in the early Edo Period. Its roots are used in Chinese traditional medicines, but its seeds carry a toxic compound. 

But what a treat to catch this scent. 

I’ll keep my eyes peeled and my nose to the breeze for the next fragrant flower.



Living between the Tone and Edo Rivers in Higashi Katsushika area of Chiba Prefecture.