Jan. 28, 2016 UPDATE
Feature

Leading You to Plum Blossom's Season in Kyoto

Leading You to Plum Blossom's Season in Kyoto
If you visit Kyoto in the spring, you are sure to love the exquisitely beautiful scenery of cherry blossoms in full bloom. However, cherry blossoms are not the only beautiful flowers you can see in Kyoto during springtime.

In the Edo period, the common people enjoyed singing a short folk song that starts with the line “The plum blossoms have bloomed?” The song continues “Is it time for the cherry blossoms yet?” This expresses the anticipation for the cherry blossom season among people who felt the blooming of plum blossoms marked the coming of spring. Plum blossoms are the earliest sign of the arrival of spring, and they have been beloved by the Japanese people since ancient times, sometimes even more so than cherry blossoms.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine has the greatest number and variety of plum trees of anywhere in Kyoto, and it is famed as the best place in Japan to view plum blossoms. So much so, that during the peak viewing season from early February to late March, tourists come from all over Japan to see the picturesque views of plum blossoms. Adjoining Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a closely associated area called Kamishichiken, which, like Gion, is a hanamachi (Maiko and Geiko quarter) live that has survived in Kyoto to modern times, and where the traditional scenery has been carefully preserved almost unchanged.

The Kitano Tenmangu-Kamishichiken area is unfortunately not well-known as a famous Kyoto sightseeing spot among people overseas. However, it could be said that this secluded area, with its gorgeous yet understated scenery and solemn atmosphere, is the best place to enjoy the traditional scenery and landscapes of Kyoto.
Whether you are planning to visit Kyoto before the start of the cherry blossom season, or you are a major fan of Kyoto who has visited the city many times, we definitely recommend paying a visit to this area.
Part 1What's Kitano Tenmangu Shrine like?
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is located close to Kinkakuji Temple, in the northwest of the center of Kyoto. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is the head shrine among approximately 12,000 Tenmangu Shrine and Tenjinsha shrines around the country (Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is like a headquarters and the other shrines are its branches). Its history has instigated much love for the shrine…
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Part 2Kamishichiken; the town where Maiko lives
Kyoto is a city known for its Maiko and Geiko in the Gion area, but they can actually be found in other three areas other than Gion. One is the quiet district of "Kamishichiken," the oldest of Kyoto's four "hanamachi", or Geiko districts…
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Part 3Recommended spots and events around
Now we will introduce some interesting events and locations in the area we personally recommend. This small shrine, this one renowned for its beautiful cherry blossoms since ancient times. It is often said "plum blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, cherry blossoms at Hirano Srine", and people come from afar to see the early-flowering blossoms said to originate here…
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Part 4Suggested model course
Have you become interested in visiting this area now? For people like you, we’ve handcrafted a model course perfect to maximize your enjoyment in the area. The course is based on the “golden course” used by locals when they visit Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and its surrounding areas. We’ve carefully selected the best and most interesting shops, organizing them in an efficient way for you…
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