Japan’s Top 100 Blossoms: Kimii-dera Temple (Wakayama)
The temple was founded in 770 by a Tang dynasty priest known in Japan as Ikō Shōnin. According to legend, the priest was conferred seven treasures by a dragon god, among which were seven cherry saplings. He planted these at the temple, and this is how Kimii-dera became famous for its cherry blossoms.
Beyond the two-storied rōmon gate lie 231 steps to the main hall. It is said that when Edo period merchant Kinokuniya Bunzaemon was climbing these steps carrying his mother on his back, the thong of his sandals broke. The young girl who fixed it for him later became his wife, and the steps have since been called Kechien-zaka, or “matchmaking slope.” Bunzaemon also went on to amass a huge fortune, so climbing these steps is thought to lead to prosperity in business and happiness in marriage.
Kimii-dera Temple (Wakayama)
- Variety: Somei yoshino
- No. of trees: 500
- When: Late March to mid-April
- Hours: Main hall 8:00–17:00
- Admission: ¥200 (¥100 for elementary and middle school students, those 70 or over)
- Address: 1201 Kimiidera, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama
- English pamphlet: http://www.kimiidera.com/pdf/english.pdf
Nearby hanami sites
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Kimii-dera Temple.)