- 2Plum blossom and Japan
- 3Kitano Tenmangu shrine and plum blossom
- 4The plum blossoms in Kitano Tenmangu shrine
- 4.1Beni Wakon Bai 紅和魂梅
- 4.2As you like おもいのまま
- 4.3Unryubai 雲龍梅
- 4.4Kankobai 寒紅梅
- 4.5Tsukino katsura 月の桂
- 4.6Kokubai 黒梅
- 5Plum blossom Gallery
- 5.1Around the main hall
- 5.2Baien garden
- 6Night illuminatiohn of Baien 梅苑ライトアップ
- 6.1In 2018
- 7Wadaiko performance
- 8Chogoro mochi 長五郎餅
- 92019 Japanese Plums in Kitano tenmangu shrine
- 9.1February 9th
- 10How to get to Kitano Tenmangu shrine?
- 11About Kitano Tenmangu shrine
- Sping in Japan always reminds us of cherry blossom Sakura but we enjoy plum blossom/Ume before it blooms.
- Kitano Tenmangu shrine is one of the most famous place to admire Ume in Kyoto.
- Kitano Tenmangu and its Baien garden have 50 kinds, 1500 plum trees.
- Baien garden is open to public in February and March. We cannot tell exact date because the shrine opens the garden depending on bloom of Ume. In 2019, it opens on Feb. 8th.
- Night illumination in Baien garden is held on week-ends (FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS, and SUNDAYS) from February 22nd to March 17th.
Plum blossom and Japan
As you Know, Sakura is the most famous flower in spring time in Japan. On the other hand, we admire Ume/plum blossom before Sakura/cherry blossom. Ume is not indigenous to Japan. It was brought to our country from China in Nara period (710 – 794). In Manyoshu, the oldest Waka compilation, has many poem on Ume. In that period, the word “flower” was equivalent to “Ume.”
Kitano Tenmangu shrine and plum blossom
Kitano Tenmangu enshrines Sugawara no Michizane. He was a court noble in Heian period. He was so prosperous that his political rival Fujiwara no Tokihira ousted him to Dazaifu (Fukuoka prefecture) by false accusation.
Michizane had cherry blossom, pine, and plum trees in the garden of his residence. On the day he left Kyoto to Dazaifu, he missed these trees. He loved the blossoms of the tree especially and he composed a poem: “東風吹かば にほひをこせよ 梅花 主なしとて 春を忘るな” It means ” O plum blossoms! I’m leaving you but spring shall be with you! To me, bring the fragrance of you on the wind to the west (Dazaifu is located west to Kyoto)!
After he had gone, the cherry tree withered. The pine tree tried to follow him but failed. Only the blossoms of the plum tree flew away to Dazaihu to see him. We can find the blossm tree in front of the main hall of Kitano tenmangu shrine today. The blossoms flew to Dazaifu gave birth to Goshinboku tree in Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine.
Due to this story, there are about 1500 plum trees in Kitano Tenmangu shrine and we can see Baimon (crest of Ume) crest of the shrine anywhere in the shrine.
The plum blossoms in Kitano Tenmangu shrine
Beni Wakon Bai 紅和魂梅
The Goshinboku tree of Kitano Tenmangu shrine. Goshinboku is a tree Shinto Deity descends to. It is believed that the blossoms of it flew away to Michizane.
As you like おもいのまま
In one branch, there are pink and white flowers bloom at the same time.
Some flowers have both colors on one flower.
Behind the main hall, there is a sub-shrine called Oimatsu sha. In front of it, there is a Unryu bai trees. Its zigzag branches reminds us of dragon. Dragon is a Deity of water in Japan. Unryu means “Dragon in crowd” and bai means “plum blossom.”
In front of the ox, you’ll find them.
Tsukino katsura 月の桂
The most popular Ume in Kitano Tenmangu shrine. The first photo is Tsukuno Katsura and the other is Hakubai (white Ume). See the difference.
It blooms in bright red.
Plum blossom Gallery
Around the main hall
Unryubai buds. Plum blossom has tiny buds usually.
Kankobai in snow. Plum blossoms in snow are so amazing. Especially red ones. I suppose we don’t expect snow in this winter.
Ume may look like all the same but they are different in color and the ways they bloom.
Kitano Tenmangu has a huge Baien garden. It is not open to public. We can pay a visit there only in February and March. In 2019, it will open in Feb. 8th. Every year, around the 2nd week of March is the best time to visit.
Entrance fee is 700 yen. In the tea house in the garden, Ume tea and Senbei are served. The entrance fee includes the bill of them.
If you’d like, you can enjoy other foods and drinks.
There are benches to admire the blossoms in the garden.
You also enjoy Tsubaki, the Japanese camellia.
In the area of Kitano Tenmangu shrine, there is debris of Odoi. Odoi was a kind of wall resembled river bank. It surrounded ancient Kyoto city. There is a stream and many plum trees are planted along it.
The pink line indicates Baien.
Date Feb 8th～late March
Open hours：10 a.m.～16 p.m.
It is different from the open hour of Kitano Tenmangu shrine
Entrance fee Adult（Over 13 years old: 700 yen Child: 350 yen
Night illuminatiohn of Baien 梅苑ライトアップ
Kitano Tenmangu has night illumination of plum blossoms. Kitano Tenmangu is the only place to admire the illumination of candles.
We cannot expect night illumination with candles any other places!
Be there virtually!
Today (March 2nd), Kitano Tenjin Taikokai dedicated their Japanese traditional drum performance to the Deity of Kitano Tenmangu shrine. Enjoy it!
Chogoro mochi 長五郎餅
Near the East gate of Kitano Tenmangu shrine, there is a small tea house of Chogoro mochi. By March 25th, it opens on every weekend. Moch is rice cake. This Chogoro mochi was served at Kitano Daisanoe in 1587. It is a legendary tea party held by Toyotomi Hedeyoshi at Kitano Tenmangu shrine. With Macha, 580 yen. The tea house is so warm thanks to Hibachi (the second photo). The charcoal gives out heat.
Sorry, Japanese language only!
2019 Japanese Plums in Kitano tenmangu shrine
Unryubai in front of Oimatsu sha and Shosui bai over the ox (ウッシーくん) bloom well.
How to get to Kitano Tenmangu shrine?
Kyoto city bus: Kitano Tenmangu mae bus stop.
Randen: Kitano Hakubaicho station