This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)
1. Osaka Castle Park Plum Grove [Osaka]netlog.jpn.org
Osaka Castle is the symbol of Osaka, and that castle was the sight of various historical events. The sight of the plum blossoms against the backdrop of that castle is impressive. On 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 different colored trees is a popular 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 a 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]fmts.exblog.jp
This is the shrine that holds the belongings of Suguwara no Michizane, the deity of education. There are about 80 variations of plum trees on the grounds, totaling 800 trees around the grounds. There is a 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. Tatsuno Mitsu Nature Park – Sekai no Ume Park [Hyogo]www.tatsuno.info
This is a popular place to see plum blossoms as it creates a dynamic sight with the backdrop of the blue Seto Inland Sea. There are 315 variations of plum trees that have been gathered not just from all over Japan but also China and South Korea, to a total of 1250 trees on the ground. Also, there is the Toubaikaku, a tower built using Chinese architectural techniques that has an observation deck that manages to be exotic but still exists 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]yasu733.exblog.jp
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]photo53.com
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]www.yuuyuu.jp
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]blogs.yahoo.co.jp
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]4travel.jp
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)