Yushima Tenjin Shrine's Plum Blossom Festival (Ume Matsuri)
Yushima Tenmangu, or Yushima Tenjin as it's called, is one of many Shinto shrines in Japan. Enshrines Sugawara no Michizane, a prominent scholar and politician his death, was deified. You can see many students visiting the shrine to pray during exam time as he is considered the god of scholarship and learning and the fact that the grounds are near the elite University of Tokyo. On the ema prayer plaques, many will write their scholarly wishes. It's quite an amazing sight to see the thousands of wooden plaques clustered together on special shelves.
From February to early March, the period from February to early March is the ideal time to visit the shrine when countless plum trees with delicately scented pink, white and red flowers come into bloom. There are outdoor tea ceremonies, dances, and musical events at the annual plum blossom festival, as well as plenty of delicious-looking, treats filling the food stands. Yushima Ten-man-gū is located in the Bunkyō ward of Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 458, this shrine was originally built in honour of the god Ameno-tajikaraono-Mikoto, one of the gods in Japanese mythology. It is very close to Ueno Park, and as I mentioned, not far from Tokyo University. The shrine enjoyed greater significance during the Edo era when it was visited by notable scholars Hayashi Razan and Arai Hakuseki. The shrine's latest restoration was in 1995.
Let's walk down this aisle of food stalls in this first festival of 2021. Looking on our right side, we have karaage or fried chicken, fried potatoes and baby castella balls which are small cake balls. We are all looking forward to lightening our moods and enjoying the coming spring season during today's plum blossom festival. Now I've gone around the side to show you the delicate ornate details of the shrine building. Let's take a look and enjoy for a moment. Now we go back into the shrine, and on our right, we have takoyaki, decorated daruma heads meaning good luck, perhaps on exams, and at the end, we have agemanju, which are another form of small round steamed cakes.
Continuing on our left, we have ikayaki or fried squid, more potatoes, and kushiyaki, which are grilled meat skewers. Yushima Tenjin is built entirely from Japanese cedar in the shaded style of architecture. A prominent feature of the shrine is the brightly coloured carvings of Japanese legendary scenes on the buildings. Here we get a glimpse of a Japanese wedding ceremony and photoshoot taking place. It's our lucky day.
More shrine videos in Shrines & Festivals playlist:
- 湯島天神公式サイト (official website in Japanese)
- 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0034