Cherry foretaste ...

You can't wait for Cherry Blossom ? I can't either, but Nature send us some help to keep patient until April with ... Plum Blossom ! Actually flowers are so similar that on my first year in Japan I've been mistaken and thought it was Cherry blossom ... f(^_^;) Plum blossom starts from around now and last until middle/end of March. So let me introduce you some good places to enjoy plum blossom ...

In Osaka area :

* The best place of all is surely Tenmangu Shrine. It will hold a Plum Matsuri from 10th of February to 9th of March
100 trees in its precinct
open from 9:00 to 17:00
special exhibition of bonsai, 500 yen
on the 17th and 24th of February, you can experience yourself handicraft made of fabric, 300-500 yen, 10:00 to 15:00
on the 2nd and 9th of March, you can experience yourself handicraft made of paper, 500 yen, 10:00 to 15:00
on every saturday, sunday and national holidays, you can eat a special "plum bentou", 2000 yen including bonsai exhibition ticket, you have to order it at least 3 days before
Tenmangu station on the JR loop line

* Osaka castle park
open 24h a day, free, 1250 trees
Osakajokoen station on the JR loop line

In Kyoto area :

* At Kitano Tenmangu shrine there will be a little matsuri on the 25th of February
2000 trees
open from 10:00 to 16:00
600 yen including tea and cake

* In the Nijo castle park
130 trees
open from 8:45 to 16:00
600 yen

* Kyoto Botanical garden
open from 9:00 to 16:00
150 trees
200 yen

And if you look for something more "offroad", you can try :

* Ishiyama temple
open from 8:00 to 16:30
400 trees
500 yen
If you climb up the mountain there you will probably find a beautiful view of Lake Biwa
from Osaka : take a Keihan train at Kyobashi station (linked to the loop line) bound to Sanjobashi station in Kyoto (40mn, 400 yen), then ...
from Kyoto : take a Keihan train from Sanjobashi station to Ishiyamadera station (40mn, 540 yen), then walk 10mn toward south.


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