“Risshun,” The First Day of Spring

Japan now uses the 12 month Gregorian calendar like the West, but that doesn’t mean our older, more traditional calendars aren’t still extremely important. We inherited the Chinese lunar calendar long ago, and the date of certain special events are still determined by the monthly phases of the moon.

But because the moon’s phases average only about 29 days, we used another Chinese calendar to keep track of the seasons. In Japan, we call it the “Nijushi sekki.” It’s based on the solar cycles, and under it, the first day of spring is called “Risshun.”

Risshun falls on February 3rd this year. Hearing “Risshun” makes Japanese feel like “spring is coming” even though it’s still very cold outside. Around this time, the “ume,” or the Japanese plum flower, also starts blooming. Like I mentioned in another post, ume flowers herald the arrival of spring. (The post about Japanese plum “Ume” is here.)

So in honor of the coming spring, I’m going to show you how to make a twofold Maru-tsumami (how to make single Maru-tsumami is here) so you can make your own ume blossom!

How to make a twofold Ume

You will need:

  • five 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) red square cloths
  • five 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) white square cloths
  • one 1 inch (2.5 cm) round paper disc (thick paper is better)
  • craft flower stamens to decorate the center of the flower
  • glue
  • tweezers (You don’t need tweezers, but it’s much easier with them)
  • wet paper towels for cleaning your fingers


  1. Making a twofold Maru-tsumami

a) First, make a triangle by folding a white square cloth half.

b) Then, fold it in half again to make a smaller triangle. Put aside.

c) Repeat 1 and 2 with a red square cloth.

d) Between the creases of the red cloth, put the white cloth triangle you made just a little bit outside.

e) Fold them in half again, but both ways this time.

f) Glue at the bottom part. You just need a dab.

g) Wait until the glue dries. (It doesn’t need to be completely dry, just enough to keep its shape.)

h) Shape the top round part to make a petal.

2. Make the other 4 petals with twofold Maru-tsumami method.

3. Put glue on the round paper disc and place the petals you made evenly towards the center.

4. Reshape the flower.

5. Let the glue completely dry.

6. Glue the flower stamens and balance them evenly.

7. Let the glue completely dry.

8. Done!

Making a Simple 10 Petal Flower with Maru-tsumami.

Creates about a 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) flower

You need:

  • 10 1 inch (2.5 cm) cloth squares
  • decoration for the center of the flower (I use beads and craft flower stamens)
  • 1 ¾ inch (2 cm) round paper disc (thick paper is better. I use a carton board I cut from things like cereal boxes)
  • glue
  • tweezers (You don’t need tweezers, but it’s much easier with them)
  • wet paper towels for cleaning your fingers

How to make:

  1. Make 10 petals with Maru-tsumami.

“How to make Maru-tsumami” link here.

2. Put glue on your paper disc and place your petals uniformly around the center.

Hint: Draw lines on your disc so you know where to place your petals.

3. Reshape the flower before the glue dries.

Because they may move around in the wet glue.

4. Let the glue dry completely.

5. Put glue on the center of your flower and place your decoration.

6. Let the glue dry.

7. Done!

You can also make your flower with Ken-tsumami. (“How to make Ken-tsumami” link here.) A combination of both methods is beautiful too! Enjoy making your own original flowers with Tsumami-zaiku!