In Kyoto

Discover the Wonders of Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine’s Azalea Garden in Kyoto


Kyoto is known as beautiful gardens and parks, which come alive with color during the spring season. The cherry blossom are undoubtedly the most famous flower in Kyoto. In addition, there are many other blooms that are equally stunning and worth seeing. 

Kyoto in April and May is the perfect climate for travel : mild weather and clear blue skies. Temples and shrines in Kyoto hold special events and festivals during this season, making it an even more special time to visit.

One of the popular spring flowers is azaleas, featuring beautiful displays of these colorful blooms. Azaleas are evergreen shrub that are most commonly used as landscape design.
Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine is known for beautiful and vibrant scenery of azaleas. After cherry blossom season in middle to late April, Many tourists visit there to see azalea flowers that are in full bloom. Here is information about of Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine.

What is Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine

Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine is the Tenmangu sect of Shintoism, dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane that is known as the god of academics. Michizane(845-903) was a highly respected scholar and poet who served in various government positions.

This shrine is located in Nagaokakyo city, southwestern part of Kyoto. When Michizane was alive, Nagaokakyo was a place closely associated with him who often enjoyed poetry and orchestral music.

The foundation year of Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine is not known. However, there is a record that it was rebuilt in 1498 after being burned down during Onin war. 

Feature of the Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine:

Ox statue with plum flower in Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine

The Ox is sacred animal messengers in Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine. There are many theories :

  • Michizane’s birthday(25th, June, 845) was date and year of ox which is 12-date or year periodic sequence of animals from Chinese zodiac signs.
  • The location of the host shrine, dedicated to Michizane, was determined by ox.

The symbol of NagaokaTenmangu shrine is plum flower. Michizane likes plum blossom which appeared in many of his poems.


Walls of crimson azalea flowers

Nagaoka Tenmangu is well-known for Azalea garden. 8.2ft (2.5m) high, about 100 Kirisima azaleas(early blooming azalea species from Kirisima city, Japan) grow at the entrance of the shrine. In middle to late April, they produce elegant crimson flowers. The view of all the flowers blooming at once attracts many visitors.

Huge pond “Hatijyogaike”

Hatijogaike pond is a huge irrigation pond, located in front of shrine. The imperial prince Hachijo built this pond in 1638. There are Many aquatic plants produce colorful flowers from May to July. The visitors can see beautiful scenery from the flat bridges.

Maple tree garden “Kinkeien”

On the way to Nagaoka Tenmangu main hall, there are a stunning Japanese garden that many kinds of maple trees grow. This Japanese garden type is strolling pond garden : a small pond with an island, pebbles beach, a flat stone bridge and arranged stones. 

The Main hall “Honden”

The main hall, called Honden, is the central and the most important building in the shrine complex. The Honden building features a traditional Japanese architectural shrine with a vermilion wooden pillars. The Honden is considered a sacred space that is only open to shrine priests and those participating in religious ceremonies.

Types of Tree

“Kirishima” Azalea

A Kirishima azalea is an early blooming variety, bred in Kirishima, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. They produce beautiful crimson flowers with small oval-leaves from middle to late April in Kyoto. Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine has approximately 100 Kirishima azaleas that 150 years old, attracting many visitors.

”Hirado” Azalea

Hirado azalea is most popular azalea in Kyoto. Azaleas can be easily trimmed into a variety of shapes and be maintained. There are many kinds of Hirado Azaleas that produce typically tubular to funnel-shaped a wide range of color flowers —white, pink, scarlet, and purple with elliptic leaves. In Nagaoka Tenmangu shrine, colorful Hirado azaleas are in full bloom, trimmed into round and square as hedges.


Satuki azalea is late blooming type. From late April to early May, they produce small pink, purple and white from small shiny green leaves. They grow in the northern west part of Nagaoka tenmangu shrine.


Wisteria is twining vines that is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the pea family. They are known for their beautiful lavender flowers , which bloom in middle to late April. They grows in front of a restaurant “Kinsuitei “on the southeast side of Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine. They produce fragrant and pendulous flowers at the same time as the Hirado azalea blooms.


Open hours
24 hours


Regular holiday

Official site(Japanese)

2 Chome-15-13 Tenjin, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto 617-0824