The plum blossoms are coming to Kyoto soon. This, at the same time, means that spring is coming closer too. In fact, today (February 22nd) was almost warm compared to one week ago.
As of this writing, it might be too early to visit the popular plum blossoms spots such as Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. But possibly from next weekend, February 28th, there will be vivid and elegant plum flowers in Kyoto City.
For those who are fascinated by the picture above or want to experience similar to the cherry blossoms viewing, visiting at least one place where the plum blossoms can be seen should be prioritized. It is hard to predict but probably the plum blossoms will be viewable for about 10 days to 2 weeks depending on the type of the plum tree. The following spots are very famous for plum blossoms viewing.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
A shrine popular for students because of the belief that praying here will make study-related wishes come true, Kitano Tenamangu Shrine has many plum trees inside its premises. They have a plum garden, which requires entrance fee 600 yen/adult, 300 yen/child. This will come with a cup of plum tea and a small Japanese traditional sweet. However, there are many plum trees outside the garden as well.
Visiting Nijo Castle during this season is a good idea, since both the plum blossoms viewing and sightseeing can be done at the same time. Nijo Castle is historically valuable, and designated as a World Heritage Site. It was built as a place to stay for the Shoguns when they visit Kyoto (they usually stay in Tokyo). The entrance fee is 600 yen/adult, 350 yen/high & middle school student, 200 yen/elementary school student. It opens at 8:45 and closes at 16:00.
For those who like plants in general, this is a perfect spot to visit. It has a large premises with thousands of different plants, which makes just taking a walk fun. Also, there is a green house facility, where plants from the tropical zone can be seen as well. Thy entrance fee is 200 yen for adult and 150 yen for high school student. The green house facility requires an additional 200 yen (younger than middle school students are free).
UPDATE: The pictures below were taken at February 24th, at Kyoto Botanical Garden. It was about 5 %.
Compared to the three places above, Jonangu might be less popular. However, it is actually historically valuable and prestigious due to the fact that this shrine was built on the south of Heiankyo (Kyoto) to guard the city when the capital was moved to Kyoto in 794. The plum blossoms here are gorgeous and elegant, and it will not disappoint visitors (600 yen/adult, 400 yen/middle & elementary school student). The easiest way to get to Jonangu Shrine is to take a special bus called REX (300 yen/adult, 100 yen/child) from the Hachijo Exit at Kyoto Station. The Hachijo Exit is on the other side of the station from the Karasuma side where Kyoto Tower can be seen. There are a couple of signs showing the bus stop on the Hachijo side of Kyoto Station. The bus leaves Kyoto Station every 20 mins or so.