Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Kinyūji: The Plum Blossom Temple Close to the Kansai Airport

If you land at the Kansai Airport between late February and early March, don’t jump on the train straightaway for Osaka’s city center. The plum blossoms close to Kinyūji might be blooming beautifully upon your arrival. So, how about starting your trip by detouring to the small temple for the plum blossoms up the hill?

About Kinyūji’s Plum Grove (金熊寺梅林)

Planting the plum trees close to Kinyūji’s precinct started in 1647. Apparently, the trees were planted due to an oracle that the priest of Shindachi Shrine (信達神社) received. The god told the priest that planting plum trees would make the area that Shindachi Shrine’s god looks after more prosperous. So, the priest’s family and the locals started planting white plums around the shrine.

Thanks to their effort, there are now around 2,000 plum trees in the plum grove, and the plum flowers’ elegant fragrance can be enjoyed by anyone who visits the plum grove when spring arrives.

How to Get to Kinyūji’s Plum Grove

  • The easiest way to Kinyūji’s Plum Grove is by car. During the plum blossom season, a temporary small car park with a capacity of around 20 cars is set up.
  • If you don’t plan to rent a car, take the Mountain Route (山回り) of Sennan City’s Community Bus, Sawayaka Bus (さわやかバス) from JR Sunagawa Station (砂川駅) or Nankai’s Tarui Station (樽井駅) and get off at Kinyūji (金熊寺) or Higashi Shōgakkō-mae (東小学校前).
    • Although in Japanese only, HERE is the service’s timetable.
    • The service is a loop service. Kinyūji is stop 17.

Please refer to Sennan City’s Official Website for a map showing where the bus stops and the plum grove are.

Tip: You can also rent a bicycle from Sennanshi Sight Seeing Information Center (泉南市観光協会), which is close to JR Izumi-Sunagawa Station (和泉砂川駅). It takes around 20 minutes to get to Kinyūji by bicycle.

From the Bus Stop to Kinyūji’s Plum Grove

The promenade to the plum grove from the bus stop/car park winds its way between fields. Banners and directory signs are placed along the narrow path. Follow them, and the plum grove planted on the hill will be in front of you shortly. In addition, the rape blossoms also bloom at the same time, coloring one side of the promenade. You will certainly feel the arrival of spring once you see these gorgeous flowers.

Although you need to hike uphill to see the plum blossoms, the slope is gentle, and the ground is paved. So, it shouldn’t be tiring hike.

If you want to overlook the entire plum grove, climb up the stairs at the end of the promenade to the top of the hill. The plum blossoms form a part of the countryside scenery. Seeing such a peaceful view, you will surely forget what might have been troubling you.

After you have had your fill of the scenery atop the hill, follow the promenade to head back down. There are also many plum trees around the fish pond you will walk past, which is another photogenic spot.

Tip: The last photo in the Instagram post contains a quick video of the entire journey.

Kinyūji’s Plum Blossom Season

The plum blossom at Kinyūji usually blooms between late February to mid-March.

You can refer to Sennan City’s Official Website for updates on current and past flowering information. If you don’t read Japanese, you can translate the webpage using your browser’s translation function. The city’s Instagram Account is also regularly updated with photos of the flowers blooming in the city.

Kinyūji’s Salted Plums (梅干し)

Not only does Kinyūji’s Plum Grove produce gorgeous white flowers that we adore, but it also bears fruits! Although the plums it bears are small, they are perfect for making Japanese salted plums.

The non-pesticide salted plums are tasty and made only with salt and red perilla. Because the number of plums that can be harvested is limited, if you see one being sold at a local grocery, grab one. It is a rare item!

About Kinyūji

If you read Japanese, you might wonder if Kinyūji has anything to do with a golden bear. After all, that is what the temple’s name means if it is directly translated into English. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Kinyūji is said to be established by En no Gyōja (役行者), who also founded the Kinpusenji Temple (金峯山寺) in Mt. Yoshino (吉野山). The temple enshrined the gods from both Kinpusenji and Kumano Shrine. By taking one word from each temple, the newly built temple in Osaka was named Kinyūji.

The main image of Kinyūji is a Cintamanicakra (Nyoirin Kannon, 如意輪観音) enshrined in the main worship hall, Hondō (本堂). Apparently, the statue was carved by En no Gyōja, who is enshrined in the Gyōja-dō Hall (行者堂) at the back of the main worship hall (refer to the 5th photo in the IG post).

The original temple buildings were destroyed in the civil war in 1299. While the temple was restored in 1338, it was burnt to the ground again when Hashiba Hideyoshi (later Toyotomi Hideyoshi) attached the current southern Osaka Prefecture. The temple was restored again in 1654 and was more magnificent than it currently looks. Due to the lack of pilgrims’ support, only a few buildings remain.

If you plan to visit Kinyūji, don’t miss out on the Japanese garden next to the main worship hall. You can adore it from the passageway connecting the Hondō Hall and the Shoin Hall (書院).

Other Must-Visit Plum Blossom Spots in Osaka

Click the photo for more ideas of where to adore the plum blossoms in Osaka!

If you are in the Kansai region from February to early March, there are several more spots in Osaka Prefecture where you can adore the gorgeous plum blossoms and the flowers’ elegant scent. So, refer to our Guide to the Plum Blossom Spots in Osaka and add some of the spots mentioned there to your itinerary!

A couple of hidden gems are also included so you can avoid crowds!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *