I know, I know. Everyone loves cherry blossom season in Japan.
But don’t forget about plum blossoms! I’ll never understand why they get less attention from foreign visitors. They’re just as beautiful and on top of that they SMELL better!
There are several great plum blossom viewing spots. Today I want to introduce one of them: Sekai no Ume Koen
I bet you won’t find this in any (foreign) guidebook!
The “World Plum Park” (世界の梅公園) is located in Mitsu, Tatsuno City (Hyogo Prefecture: map). It’s not too far from Himeji.
Although not well-known outside of the Kansai region, the park draws a lot of tourists in early spring. They’re mainly coming from nearby Okayama, Kobe or Osaka.
Mitsu offers two of the best plum blossoms viewing spots in Kansai and you can easily visit both on the same day. They’re only a few minutes away from each other. The other one, “Ayabeyama Bairin” (綾部山梅林), I’ll introduce another time. It is home to around 20.000 plum trees.
With so many great options to enjoy plum blossoms, “Mitsu” (御津町) is also called “Plum District” (梅の町).
Access to the World Plum Park
If you don’t want a rental car or waste a lot of money on a taxi, then public transportation is the best way.
Get off at “Sanyo Aboshi Station“. From there take a Shinki Bus (神姫バス), get off at “Sekai no ume koen mae” and walk for about 15 mins.
Learn More About Sekai No Ume Koen
Sekai no Ume Koen opened in 1993. The park offers over 300 different types of plum blossoms not only from Japan, but also from China, Korea and Taiwan. Several Chinese-style buildings give the park an exotic touch.
The park offers a breath-taking view of the Seto Inland Sea. On a clear day you can see Awaji Island.
Unfortunately it was quite hazy when I visited due to the PM2.5 from China.
Exotic Chinese-style buildings, colorful plum blossoms and the blue ocean in the background. If this scenery isn’t beautiful, then I don’t know what is!
There are several benches in the park where you can sit down and just enjoy the sight and smell of the plum blossoms.
A lot of people ask me what the difference between plum and cherry blossoms is.
The most distinctive one is the scent, but if you have only photos, that doesn’t help, I guess?
Here’s a great explanation that will help you telling them apart.
With over 300 different types of plum blossoms, I’m sure there’s something nice for everyone!
Personally I really like those dark pink ones the best.
The Chinese-Style Buildings of Sekai no Ume Koen
Tobaikaku (唐梅閣) was my favorite among the buildings. It serves as an observation platform and is surrounded by a spacious and beautiful resting area on top of a hill.
In the photo above you see the “Jinbaikan” (尋梅館). In the first floor you’ll find a little “plum museum”. They have a detailed folder with photos and description of all the different plum blossom types featured in the park.
They also sell a few local products there.
In the second floor you’ll find a restaurant.
Sekkai Koutou Gate
On the right photo you see the Sekkai Koutou Gate (雪海香濤) which marks the entrance to the main area of the park.
This observation spot (登り岩展望台) was my favorite. It’s a bit tricky to find, especially if you can’t read Japanese (as they have no signs in English at all).
From the upper parking lot (next to the Jinbaikan) there’s a small path you can take. It’s just a 2 mins walk and totally worth the great view!
There’s a small rock that you can easily climb. It offers the best view of the whole park!
Another observation deck where you can take a rest. The view from there is not as great, though.
Oh, and they have super adorable Chinese-style garbage bins!
Colorful Plum Blossoms and Beautiful Sights
Something like this is one of my favorite sceneries in Japan: pink blossoms and the blue sea in the background!
With so many different types of plum blossoms the park becomes extremely colorful in spring!
I visited on a warm spring day. As it was a Monday, not many people were there.
You could easily sit on one of the benches and enjoy the scent and beautiful sight of the plum blossoms, the birds’ twittering as well as the sound of the ocean.
I want to bathe in these blossoms!
Those two-color type plum blossom trees were absolutely awesome.
Even when you walk or drive up the road to the entrance of the park, you can enjoy the beautiful pink plum blossoms
If you’re in Kansai (for example in Kobe or Osaka) in early spring, visiting this park certainly is worth a day trip!
|T O U R I S T I N F O R M A T I O N|
|Holidays:||Mondays (apart from plum blossom viewing season: ~2/11-3/25|
|Entrance fee:||400 yen (adult); 200 yen (children: elementary school – jr. high)|
|Time required:||at least 50-60 mins|
|Access:||You can take a taxi from JR Himeji or Tatsuno Station, but that’s rather expensive. Or take the train and get off at “Sanyoaboshi“. From there take a bus and get off at “Sekai no ume koen mae”. From the bus stop it’s a 15 mins walk.|