8 Places in Kansai to See the Plum Trees Blossom
Plum blossoms, or ume, begin blooming in February and are just as much of a characteristic Japanese spring flower as cherry blossoms. Their cute sight and sweet fragrance provide a soothing presence for those who go see them. In this article, we're showcasing the absolute best plum-blossom locations through the Kansai region, including the popular prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Hyogo. Give them a visit, so you can surround yourself by the fragrance of plum blossoms and feel like spring is truly arriving!
Mar 09 2016 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Osaka Castle Park Plum Grove [Osaka]Mc681/Wikipedia
Osaka Castle is the symbol of Osaka, and the castle has been the sight of various historical events. The sight of the plum blossoms against the backdrop of the castle is impressive. Within the grounds, there are 100 varieties that add up to 1270 plum trees that bloom around mid-March. The sight of the imposing castle and the multicolored trees makes for an excellent photo site. You can see the colorful blooms from the castle tower as well, a view that will make you feel like the lord of the castle!
HP: www.osakacastle.net/english/park/index.html (Chinese)
HP: osakacastlepark.jp/flower/plum_grove.html (Japanese)
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka (Google Map)
2. Domyouji Tenmangu [Osaka]
This is the shrine that holds the belongings of Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of education. There are about 80 variations of plum trees on the grounds, totaling 800 trees. There is a lively plum festival held when they bloom, including events like nodate (open-air tea ceremony) and lion dances. You can enjoy the very Japanese feeling permeating the entire event.
HP: domyojitenmangu.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-16-40 Domyouji, Fujidera-shi, Osaka (Google Map)
3. Sekai no Ume Park [Hyogo]
The amazing sight of the plum blossoms against the backdrop of the blue Seto Inland Sea make this an popular destination. There are 315 variations of plum trees that have been gathered not just from all over Japan but also China and South Korea, for a total of 1250 trees. (This explains the name Sekai no Ume, or "plums of the world".) There is also the Toubaikaku, an observation deck built using Chinese architectural techniques, and the Raikakukan resting space, which create an exotic atmosphere in harmony with the international plum trees.
HP: www.kanko-mitsu-hyogo.jp/page_ume/ume_2.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 1858-4 Mitsucho Kurosaki, Tatsuno-shi, Hyogo-ken (Google Map)
4. Kitano Tenmangu [Kyoto]
This is the main shrine of the more than 10,000 Tenmangu/Tenjinsha shrines around the country. Do you know Toyotomi Hidetoshi? He was the military commander that united Japan from very humble roots, a farmer's family. This shrine is famous for being the place where that Toyotomi Hidetoshi held the Kitano Daisanoue, a giant formal tea ceremony. On the grounds there are 50 varieties adding up to 1500 plum trees, making it a very popular spot for plum blossom viewing. The plum festival starts on February 25th, which includes a tea ceremony reception held by maiko and geisha where you can enjoy a very elegant atmosphere. The 25th of every month is a festival called Tenjinsan, and the grounds become full of booths selling antiques and vintage clothing, so many people come visit then as well.
HP: www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
5. Jonangu [Kyoto]
This shrine was built around 1200 years ago as a shrine to protect the country, so it's revered as a grand shrine that helps ward off evil. Rakusuien, one of the gardens, is full of beautiful plants that reflect the seasons, and you'll feel surrounded by the world of the Tale of Genji, the story that tells of the refined culture of Japanese royalty in the Heian era. There are about 150 weeping plums trees that blossom gracefully on the mountain in the gardens in the spring, and the sight of those trees will make you speechless. During the spring season, shrine maidens dressed in traditional clothing that includes a plum hat and they dance. You can truly enjoy the charms of this shrine on your visit.
HP: www.jonangu.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 7 Nakajimatobarikyucho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
6. Nara Park [Nara]
Nara Park is a 520ha area that is home to world heritage sites such as Todaiji and Kasuga Taisha. When you mention Nara Park, the deer are the most famous attraction that many people come specifically to visit. On the grounds there are 250 plum trees, and you can see them around the area that holds the world heritage sites. Nara is the only place where you can see those sites along with deer and the beautiful plum blossoms. You might find a chance for a painting-like photo here.
HP: nara-park.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Kasuganocho, Nara (Google Map)
7. Minabe Bairin [Wakayama]
This is the biggest plum grove in Japan, with about 10,000 trees covering the surface of the mountain. The gentle image looks as though the mountain is wearing garments of plum. The blossoms begin around the beginning of March and on weekends and holidays they hold various events. Booths selling products made from plum and light meals are lined up around the grounds so that visitors can enjoy it to their heart's pleasure.
HP: www.aikis.or.jp/~minabe/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Oshine, Minabe, Hidaka-gun, Wakayama-ken (Google Map)
8. Hikone Castle [Shiga]
Hikone Castle is designated as a national treasure. This castle is made up of many roofs and the castle tower has beautiful curves, so people who visit can enjoy the sight. The beautiful 400 plum trees paint the grounds in red and white and purple around mid-March. In the moat there remains a vintage pleasure boat in operation so you can also enjoy spring at Hikone Castle on the waters.
HP: www.hikoneshi.com/jp/castle/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone-shi, Shiga-ken (Google Map)
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.