Seihakuji Temple in Sangasho, Ymanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture is a Zen Buddhism temple of the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect. Its sango (the name of the mountain where the temple is located) is Kaiyusan. The main object of worship is Shaka Nyorai. It is said that the temple was founded in 1333 by Muso Soseki, who was invited here by Ashikaga Takauji. The temple buildings except Butsuden (the building where Buddha statue is placed) were destroyed by fire in 1682, right after which the reconstruction works started and completed in 1693.
The Butsuden hall, a designated National Treasure, is a 3-bay Irimoya-zukuri building with mokoshi (pent roof enclosure) and cypress bark roof. It has a simple structure, but has the lacquered kagami-tenjo (a flat ceiling made of smoothly planed boards) with colorful paintings, which are very rare for a Zen temple.
As the palm trees line along the front approach, the temple is called “Plum Temple.” Surrounded by vineyards, the temple buildings stand in tranquil nature, which relieves the mind of visitors.
Baikamo fungus grows in the Jizo River which flows through Samegai, in Maibara district, Shiga Prefecture. The Jizo River is famous for its legendary crystal-clear water, called 'izame no kiyomizu', and for the plant Gasterosteus microcephalus, which only thrives in fresh water.
Moreover, baikamo, which belongs to the Ranunculaceae group, grows only in clean water, too. It is called baikamo because it produces an 'ume'-plum-like flower from July to August. The flower is about 1.5cm in size. By the end of summer, the red and white color palette of baikamo, combined with splashes of color from the Lagerstroemia planted along the river, make for a gracious ambience.
Baikamo is a rare plant that grows only in particular areas, and its presence symbolizes the purity of the water.
Taura Green Park located in Taura-Izumi-cho, Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Pref. is known for plum blossoms. It is selected one of 100 Flower Spots of Kanagawa Pref. In 1934, local people planted 700 plum trees to celebrate the birth of the prince (the present emperor). Now this is the most extensive garden of plum trees on Miura Peninsula, boasting of 2700 plum trees, including such varieties as aojiku, shirokaga white plum blossoms and Yoro red plum blossoms. The garden is filled with sweet fragrance of plum blossoms during the season. Plum Wine and Plum Liquor made from plums picked from the trees are becoming popular as a noteworthy product of Yokosuka City. The park also features an area for athletic activities, a campground and a grass field, where visitors can leisurely enjoy nature all through the year.
Umenosato Park is located in Kojiro, Tsuyama, in Okayama Prefecture. Within the 5-hectare site are over 3800 plum trees representing 14 types of plum. The park was created by locals and was opened in 1994.
From mid-February to late-March, the plum trees blossom, covering the whole park in bloom and marking the advent of spring with their scent. There are many different colored blossoms, ranging from red to pale-pink and white.
A 'Ume Festival' also takes place near the park entrance and lots of people come to visit then. In the ume-processing factory, goods such as pickled plum, jam, dried plum and jelly are manufactured, and prove to be popular goods for sale.
A high-speed ship called the 'Rio Grande' cruises between Otsu on the south side of Lake Biwa, to Nagahama in the north. It is also known as the 'snow-appreciation ship' because in winter, beautiful views of Lake Biwa can be enjoyed.
Winter cruises are held at the same time as the Nagahama Bonsai Apricot Exhibition, a feature of early spring on Lake Biwa, and are available until the beginning of March (the day before the opening of Lake Biwa).
On 5th May, 1980, Shiga Prefecture and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil established a sister relationship because both cities feature lakes: Biwa Lake in Japan and Lake Pattos in Brazil. At that time, the cruise ship was named Rio Grande, which means 'big river'.
The ship is warm inside and there are comfortable seats for 2-8 persons on the first and second decks. The beautiful winter scenery includes views of the snowy lake. A commentary is also given on the fish, birds, history and specialties of Lake Biwa.
It took about two hours to cruise one-way, including various stops along the way. You can have a leisurely time and stay in hotels near the lake or take the opportunity to go to other events.