The Plums Have Started Blooming
We've had a much warmer than usual winter here in Kyoto. As a consequence the Plum (Ume) Blossoms have already started. It's about 2 weeks earlier than usual. Actually in some places in Japan the plums have bloomed 3 weeks early. Now I'm not sure how this is going to affect the Cherry (Sakura) Blossoms this year, because they are trigged by higher temperatures than the plums. However I will let you know when the cherries start showing signs of blooming.
Earlier in the week I stopped in a Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (one of Kyoto's best plum blossom sites) for about an hour and a bit to get some photos of the flowers. I have it on some good authority that the gardens of Zuishin-in temple near the Ono subway station (Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai line) are another good plum blossom viewing spot. I'll have to check that out before the plum blossom season is over.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is located near the corner of Imadegawa Dori and Nakadachiuri Dori, not far from Nishioji Dori. There is a light rail train station named Kitano-Hakubai-cho about 5 minutes walk away, but unless your coming from Arashiyama, it's probably better to use a bus. The most convenient bus is number 203, from Nishioji Dori just outside Saiin Station on the Hankyu Railways Kyoto line, or from Imadegawa Dori near Demachiyanagi Station on the Keihan Railway's Main Line. There are other buses on Nishioji Dori that you can catch near Saiin Station (if you miss a 203) which continue Northward on Nishioji Dori without turning into Imadegawa Dori, if you use one of these you get off near Kitano-Hakubai-cho Station (a recorded announcement in English is played just before it stops there). Another attraction nearby Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a Geisha district called Kamishichiken which is just to the east of the Shrine.
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 camera and an AF 85/f1.8D lens. It was captured in RAW (.NEF format) and converted to JPEG in DxO Optics Pro. I made the following adjustment to the image: Default camera and lens corrections applied; The image was cropped; Highlights reduced; DxO Smart Lighting applied at default level; DxO ClearView applied at default level; Vibrancy increased; and PRIME noise reduction applied.