Domyo-ji Tenmangu Shrine: 800 Beautiful Ume Trees!

In February, the very first spring flowers start to bloom. The most famous and iconic of these flowers are plum blossoms, or ume. While Osaka might not be everyone’s first thought when it comes to ume, Osaka offers many places where you can enjoy the ume blossoms. Some of the most famous ones are: Osaka Castle Park, Kozen Park, Hiraoka Shrine, and Domyo-ji Tenmangu Shrine [道明寺天満宮]. Domyo-ji Tenmangu Shrine in particular has 800 trees and 80 different kinds of ume trees!

History of Domyo-ji Tenmangu

Long ago, this region was governed by Nomi no Sukune [野見宿祢], the father of sumo and 13th head priest of Izumo Taisha.

Later, Sukune’s descendants, the Haji clan, built Haji Shrine [土師神社] for their divine ancestor, Amenohohi no Mikoto [天穂日命]. A few more centuries later, they built Haji Temple right next to Haji Shrine.

Michizane and Domyo-ji Tenmangu

The Haji clan eventually changed their family name to Sugawara, the clan of Sugawara no Michizane. In fact, Michizane’s aunt lived in Haji Temple. Just after the emperor banished Michizane from his beloved Kyoto, he stopped by Haji Temple to see his aunt one last time. When dawn broke on the morning of his departure, a rooster crowed. Quickly, Michizane penned what became of his most famous poems:

 鳴けばこそ 別れも憂けれ 鶏の音の なからん里の 暁もがな
Because rooster cries, I must leave. If only I could live in a land with no roosters.

After Michizane died, he joined the gods in Haji Shrine and the name of shrine became Domyo-ji Tenmangu. Haji temple also eventually became Domyo-ji Temple, enshrining a Kwannon statue made by Michizane made by himself. Domyo-ji Temple and Domyo-ji Tenmangu were once shared the same land, but during the Meiji Period, the government forced them to separate.

Shrine Grounds

This shrine is particularly famous for its beautiful ume garden. We also visited the shrine in the spring of 2017 and the sakura were very pretty then too.

torii of Domyo-ji Tenmangu covered in sakura blossoms
Domyo-ji Tenmangu

Right next to the torii, Haji Shrine, the original shrine of Domyo-ji Tenmangu. Nomi no Sukune and several other gods are housed in Haji Shrine.

stone torri of Haji Shrine at Domyo-ji Tenmangu
Haji Shrine

After the main torii, you will see the haiden and behind the haiden is the honden. Inside the honden Amenohohi, Sugawara no Michizane and Michizane’s aunt, Kakujyuni are enshrined.

Haiden of Domyo-ji Tenmangu
Haiden built in 1745

The Nogaku stage at the shrine is also one of the oldest in Osaka! Remember, Shinto shrines have a long tradition of holding Noh plays!

wooden noh stage
Nogaku, built in 1815

Ume Garden

The plum garden is located right behind of the honden. Every year the shrine hosts a small ume festival when the flowers are at their peek.

Rows of flowering Japanese plum blossoms with Japanese shrine in background
Ume garden
pink red and white Japanese plum blossoms at Domyo-ji Tenmangu
Ume garden
red Japanese plum blossoms with wooden shinto shrine in background
Haji Shrine is pretty too…

Domyo-ji Tenmangu Shrine

Address1-16-40 Domyoji, Fujiidera,
Osaka Prefecture 〒 583-0012
Hours of OperationMon-Sun
Admission FeeGeneral Admission: Free
Admission to Ume Festival: 500 yen

Domyo-ji Tenmangu is a really pretty shrine to visit in the early spring. It is an especially popular place for photographers of all skills levels when the ume are in full bloom. Because it is a not sitting right in the middle of Osaka City, the crowds feel manageable. Definitely a great spot!

Coming next time,
Osaka’s cheesecake war: Rikuro Ojisan vs Pablo!

The adventure continues…

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