Leading You to Plum Blossom's Season in Kyoto
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.