Introducing the 5 selected great places to view plum blossoms in Kyoto
Kyoto, which is popular during the seasons of cherry blossoms and autumn foliage, is also a great place to enjoy other various seasonal flowers and greenery. In particular, the blossoming seasons of plum flowers especially in early spring differ depending on the varieties, and this feature allows you to enjoy plum blossoms for a relatively longer period. This article will introduce some of the great places in Kyoto to enjoy plum blossoms, which will be in season soon.
*Some temples and shrines close early. Please check the opening hours before visiting.
Kitano Tenmangu ShrineAs one of the grand head shrines of Tenmangu Shrines in Japan, Kitano Tenmangu is one of the most famous places in Kyoto for viewing plum blossoms. The shrine’s emblem bears the design of a plum, and it is also famous for the waka (Japanese style) poem by Sugawara no Michizane, who is enshrined as a Tenjin (Shinto deity) god. His poem describes the shrine as having a special connection with the plum blossoms. The Tenjin market is held on the ennichi (memorial day for the temple’s founder) every 25th day of each month. On February 25, the Baika-sai Festival is held to commemorate the death anniversary of Sugawara no Michizane.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Opening of the plum garden: Jan. 31 to late Mar.
*Plum blossoms will be illuminated at night on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Feb. 28 to Mar. 22.
Baika-sai Festival: Feb. 25
Nearest Station: “Kitano-Tenmngu-mae” bus stop
Nijo CastleWhile Nijo Castle is famous as one of the great places to view cherry blossoms, you cannot possibly miss more than 100 plum trees blooming gorgeously within the castle’s grounds in early spring. You can enjoy various pretty varieties of plum blossoms including the“genpei sekiwake,” in which both red and white flowers bloom in a single tree.
Peak Season: From early Feb. to early Mar.
Nearest Stations: Subway Nijojo-mae Sta. and “Nijo-jo-mae” bus stop
Jonangu ShrineJonangu Shrine, which is known as the shrine for warding off disasters and evil spirits, offers a great view with 150 beautiful weeping plum tree blossoms. As the plum blooming season overlaps with that of camellias, you can see a picturesque contrast between plum blossoms and camellia flowers.
Weeping Plums and Camellia Festival: Feb. 18 (Tue) to Mar. 22 (Sun)
Nearest Stations: Subway Takeda Sta. and “Jonangu-higashiguchi” bus stop
Umenomiya ShrineServing as the grand head shrine of Umenomiya shrines in Japan, this shrine is associated with sake brewing and prayers related to family prosperity. As shown by the name of the shrine which includes the Japanese character for “ume” (plum), you can see plum blossoms everywhere on its precincts, with a total of 400 plum trees. The shrine is also famous for the lovely cats living on the temple grounds, earning it the nickname “cat shrine.” If you love cats, it is a great place to be! Located in the west part of the city near Arashiyama and the big Katsura River, it is a perfect spot where you can feel the tranquil atmosphere of Kyoto.
Peak Season: From mid-Feb to mid-Mar.
Nearest Stations: “Umenomiya Taisha-mae” bus stop and Matsuo-Taisha Sta. on Hankyu Line
Kyoto Botanical GardensWith a long history since its opening in 1924, Kyoto Botanical Gardens have seasonal flowers and trees as well as a plum garden with many varieties of plum trees including rare ones. As the plum flowers have a long blooming season which lasts until late March, you may be able to enjoy the early-blooming cherry blossoms and late-blooming plum blossoms at the same time.
Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Nearest Stations: “Shokubutsu-en-mae” bus stop and Subway Kitayama Sta.
*The information herein is as of January 2020.