Beautiful Winter Sights at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

With the weather getting chillier day by day and autumn coming to an end, winter has finally come knocking on Japan’s doors this year. Despite the freezing temperatures of this season, there are still beautiful sights to be seen and (outdoor) activities to be done in Kyoto! One such attractive place to visit is Kitano Tenmangu shrine, where you can see gorgeous plums blooming after trees have shed their red leaves.



Among the countless shrines scattered throughout Japan, Kitano Tenmangu is the mecca for all Japanese students, as it houses the spirit of Sugawara no Michizane, the god of learning revered in Japan. Students make the pilgrimage to pray for academic luck from the late poet and scholar, in the hopes of getting good grades or into the school of their choice. Cows are also thought to bring good luck in this shrine, which is why you will see sacred cow statues for you to touch.


Though cherry blossoms and Japan may almost be synonymous, at Kitano Tenmangu shrine plum flowers are the superstars here, boasting over 1000 stalks of them. The plum garden will be open for public viewing from December to March, allowing viewers to appreciate a different beauty from cherry blossoms that plums offer. There is also a small teahouse within its premises for you to sip tea while admiring the floral beauties.



Even if you have missed the shrine’s autumn night illumination, don’t despair as the plums will be waiting for you in full bloom!

Plum viewing hours: 10:00 – 16:00

Entrance fee (comes with snacks): ¥700 (for adults), ¥350 (up til high school students)