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Special Feature on Plum Blossoms

In the season of fragrant plum blossoms!
4 recommended spots for shrines and temples in Tokyo


"Plum Blossom" has been loved by many people since long ago, including Michizane Sugawara.
Many shrines and temples hold ume (plum) festivals.
This time, I will introduce "Kameido Tenjin Shrine" and "Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine" where the Ume Festival is being held, "Waseda Mizuninari Shrine" where the ume blossoms are beautiful and crowded during the examination season, and "Gokokuji Temple" where you can enjoy not only the ume blossoms but also the greenery and flowers of each season.

Plum Festival held! "Kameido Tenjin Shrine"

  • Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Sky Tree
    Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Sky Tree
  • New Tokyo One Hundred Views!
    New Tokyo One Hundred Views!

Kameido Tenjin Shrine is a spot famous for its flowers, as it is said to be "Tenjin of Flowers Higashi-Zaifu Tenmangu Shrine".
It is also a famous spot for wisteria flowers drawn in Utagawa Hiroshige's "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” and has been selected as one of the "New Tokyo 100 Views".

In addition to wisteria, another must-see flower at Kameido Tenjin Shrine is the plum blossom.
The “Plum Festival” is held every year, and many people visit.
There is even a statue of Sugawara no Michizane, the god of learning, and a monument to a poem he read when he was five years old.

  • Plum Blossom Festival
    Plum Blossom Festival
  • Michizane Sugawara and Waka
    Michizane Sugawara and Waka

This year the festival will be held from Feb 4 to March 5. I myself visited on Feb 6.
There are more than 300 plum trees planted and many varieties, with the name of each variety written on each tree.
I think it is rare to find a shrine or temple in Tokyo where you can enjoy such a large number of red and white plum trees.

  • Splendid Red Plum Blossoms
    Splendid Red Plum Blossoms
  • Shinen Plum Blossoms
    Shinen Plum Blossoms

"Kameido Tenjin" is popular as the god of learning, so "Academic charm" and "Pencil set" are sold.
Uso-mamori, Udo-dorin, Uso-sutorappu are also famous.
In addition, during the plum festival period, "Plum Flower Hamayumi" is also available.

  • Good luck charms for schoolwork and pencil sets too!
    Good luck charms for schoolwork and pencil sets too!
  • Sacred Arrows also!
    Sacred Arrows also!

A poster for "Kameido Tenjin Shrine Location Photography" was posted on a bulletin board on the grounds.
The Kameido Tenjin website also includes information on Fukuchi Photo Studio, a Kameido photo studio that takes commemorative photos for New Year's visit to the shrine and Shichi-Go-San pilgrimages, as well as Beauty Space Echo, a Shichi-Go-San kimono dressing rental service.
Holding events such as Shichi-Go-San at Kameido Tenjin Shrine, a famous spot known to everyone, will be a good memory.
If you have small children, why don't you take a look at this page for reference?

Kameido Umeyashiki
Kameido Umeyashiki

Also, after Kameido Tenjin Shrine, there is a spot that I would like to recommend you stop by.
Kameido Umeyashiki is about a 7-minute walk away.
It is a relatively new sightseeing spot in Kameido, a town where humanity and the atmosphere of Edo remain.

「In addition to the "Edo Kiriko Gallery" and "Ukiyo-e Salon", there is also the "Fukugamekan" where you can find Kameido's attractions and specialties. Since seasonal products are also sold, you can also purchase souvenirs related to "plum".
In addition, when visiting Kameido Umeyashiki, it is recommended to look for the fire watchtower and the Ukiyo-e ad board on the front of Kameido Umeyashiki.

  • Fire watchtower
    Fire watchtower
  • There is also a photo spot!
    There is also a photo spot!

◆Kameido Tenjin Shrine Access
・Address: 3-6-1 Kameido, Koto-ku, Tokyo ・Public transport: 13 minutes’ walk from Kameido Station JR Sobu Line ◆Access to Kameido Umeyashiki
・Address: 4-18-8 Kameido, Koto-ku, Tokyo ・Public transport: 6 minutes’ walk from Kameido Station JR Sobu Line

"Ushi Tenjin Red Plum Blossom Festival" "Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine"

Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine
Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine

"Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine" is located about 5 minutes from "Koishikawa Korakuen".
It is a shrine that is also the general deity of companies in this area, such as Tokyo Dome.
It is also famous for the "Ushitenjin Red Plum Blossom Festival" that is held here.

  • Red Plum Blossom Festival
    Red Plum Blossom Festival
  • Red plum
    Red plum

This year it will be held from February 1st to February 25th.
I myself visited on February 5th, but there were many people because it was Sunday.
I visited during the time just before the red ink stamp reception deadline.
There are also “special commemorative red ink stamp” stamps for the Red Plum Blossom Festival and the Plum Blossom Festival, so some people received an explanation of the types.
It is not uncommon for people to purchase 'Tanzaku Ema' and 'Health Protection' for a limited time only during the Koubai Festival.

Many red ink stamps!

The Red Plum Festival at Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine is full-blown and includes the Plum Dedication Ceremony.
You can also enjoy "Tenjin Taiko (drum)" performed in the precincts of the shrine.
Before Covid19, "Nodate" (outdoor tea ceremony) was also held.
On the day of the Plum Dedication Ceremony, sprigs of plum are distributed at the shrine office.
Although the festival is called "Red Plum Blossom Festival," visitors can actually enjoy the beautiful white plum blossoms at the same time.
Plum trees are planted on both sides of the stairs leading to the precincts of the shrine, so visitors can enjoy climbing up the stairs one step at a time.

Let us tell you about the origin of Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine.
In the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when Minamoto Yoritomo was sitting on a rock in this area and resting, Sugawara Michizane appeared in his dream riding on an ox. At that time, he was told that he would have two joys.
The following year, the joy was so great that Lord Yoritomo enshrined this rock and founded the shrine, which is said to be the beginning of "Ushitenjin Kitano-jinja Shrine".

  • There is also a legend about a 'cow'!
    There is also a legend about a 'cow'!
  • Omikuji-musubi place!
    Omikuji-musubi place!

The "Rekigawa Yukinotan" (Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai was painted from the precincts of Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine.
It is also known for being used as a postage stamp for "International Correspondence Week" in 2022.

The Red ink stamps are also given to the precinct shrines "Ota Shrine" and "Takagi Shrine", as well as the concurrent shrines "Suwa Shrine" and "Shusse Inari Shrine".
In particular, "Ota Shrine" and "Takagi Shrine" have the benefit of improving the arts and bringing good luck.
The couple of "Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto," the god of performing arts, "Sarutahiko-no-Mikoto," the god of the road, and "Ukanomitama-no-Mikoto." Only two companies in Japan (the other one is in Kyoto) are enshrined.
In addition, at Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine, in addition to the "temple wedding", there is also a wedding plan for only two people because of the corona disaster.
And there was also a poster about Dog's Day Visit, which is held as a prayer for safe delivery.
I have the impression that life's milestones and milestone events are carried out wholeheartedly.

◆Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine Access
・Address: 1-5-2 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
・Public transportation:
 10 minutes’ walk from Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line/Namboku Line Korakuen Station  10-minute walk from Kasuga Station on the Toei Subway Mita Line/Oedo Line  10-minute walk from Iidabashi Station on the JR Chuo Line, Subway Tozai Line, Namboku Line, Oedo Line, and Yurakucho Line

Pray for success at Waseda University! "Waseda Mizuinari Shrine"

Waseda Mizuinari Shrine
Waseda Mizuinari Shrine

“Waseda Mizuinari Shrine” is located in the Waseda area and is adjacent to “Kansenen Park”, which is known as a strolling garden.
It is located in the place where Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, the eldest son of the Shimizu family, one of the Tokugawa Gosankyo, was born and raised.

"Tokugawa Yoshitoshi" is a person who led the field of aviation in the army.
He is also known for being the first in Japan to attempt a flight by an airplane as part of an official military flight test.
Therefore, airplanes are displayed on the premises, and traffic safety stickers are also available. It is also a very popular amulet for aviation fans.

  • The founder of Japanese aviation history!
    The founder of Japanese aviation history!
  • Ichiyo Rai Mamori or Prayer Protection for Success
    Ichiyo Rai Mamori or Prayer Protection for Success

There are two other famous amulets.
One is the "Waseda University Passing Prayer Protection".
This is a unique good luck charm unique to the shrine, which is visited by many students preparing for entrance exams because of its proximity to Waseda University.
The "Takagi Shrine" on the present site was originally located on the grounds of Waseda University.
The "Kitano Shrine" was moved from Ushigome Tenjin, and Shigenobu Okuma worshipped at the shrine daily.
These two shrines are especially required for students preparing for Waseda University entrance examinations.

The other is the "Ichiyo Rai Mamori" distributed from the winter solstice to Setsubun.
Many people purchase it every year in hopes of improving their financial fortune.

  • Entrance to Waseda Mizuhinari Shrine
    Entrance to Waseda Mizuhinari Shrine
  • Safflowers on the grounds!
    Safflowers on the grounds!

When in full bloom, the red plum blossoms at the entrance of "Waseda Mizuhinari Shrine" are splendid.
This photo was taken on February 4.
「It would be good to take a picture with the "Pray for Success" banner.
There are also red plum trees planted in pots on the grounds.
At dusk, lanterns are lit, and you will be able to take wonderful pictures with the plum blossoms.

  • Pray for success and safflowers!
    Pray for success and safflowers!
  • At dusk!
    At dusk!

Actually, this "Waseda Mizuinari Shrine" also has a point that children will be happy with.
You can meet a certain animal that you can't easily see at the shrine.
There is a horse named "Momotaro" and a goat named "Yuki".
A request about food for "Hyakutaro" was also posted.
"Yuki" seems to prevent headbutting and has a hose or tennis ball attached to the corner.

  • Don't startle the horse!
    Don't startle the horse!
  • A request about Momotaro's food!
    A request about Momotaro's food!

Let me introduce another piece of information related to horses.
Takadanobaba is the place where Yabusame was revived by the 8th shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune.
For this reason, even now, you can still see a notice in the “Waseda Mizuinari Shrine” that says, “Recruitment of volunteers for Yabusame (junior high school boys).” Another characteristic of this shrine is that the fox god is enshrined next to the main shrine of Waseda Mizuinari Shrine.

Children are sure to react because they are posing as if they are about to move at any moment.

Missing Ear God Fox
Missing Ear God Fox

◆Waseda Mizuinari Shrine Access
 3-5-43 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
・Public transportation:
 3 minutes on foot from Toei bus "Nishi-Waseda" from JR Yamanote Line "Takadanobaba Station"  10-minute walk from Waseda Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line  3-minute walk from Omokagebashi Station on the Tokyo Sakura Tram (Toden Arakawa Line)

Lush greenery! Enjoy seasonal flowers at Daihonzan Gokokuji Temple

Daihonzan Gokokuji Temple
Daihonzan Gokokuji Temple

Daihonzan Gokokuji Temple, a member of the Buzan sect of the Shingon Buddhism, is so deeply rooted in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, that it is even used in the name of the station, "Gokokuji Station.
The temple was founded as a temple for the prayers of Keishoin, the wife of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun, and the mother of Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, the fifth shogun.

The temple has a vast area of land that one would not expect to find in the heart of the city and is known as a spot where one can enjoy many trees, plants, and flowers.
It is one of the temples that I myself visit every season.

The plum trees are in bloom just before you pass through the Niomon Gate, the front gate of Gokokuji Temple, and climb the stairs.
At the time of our visit on February 4, it was not yet in bloom, but it will take a wonderful photo when paired with the "Furomon" gate in the background.

I am looking forward to the blooming plum blossoms!
I am looking forward to the blooming plum blossoms!

The "Main Hall" and "Gekkouden" of Gokokuji Temple, designated as Important Cultural Properties, the "Tahotou" built by a famous sculptor and designer, and the "Mausoleum" completed in 1996, are well worth seeing.

The 'Tahotou' and 'Gekkouden'
The 'Tahotou' and 'Gekkouden'

Gokokuji is also a temple where the graves of people who were active in history such as "Shigenobu Okuma", "Aritomo Yamagata" and "Sanetomi Sanjo" are located.
Children who are beginning to be interested in history may be moved.

Even now, it is one of the temples that is often used as a funeral venue for celebrities.

Before covid19, the "Setsubun party" was held every year with the participation of Toshio and Toshijo guests, such as local celebrities, entertainers and sumo wrestlers.

There are two places on the premises that children are likely to be interested in.
One is "Otowa Fuji".
Fujizuka was built in Bunka 14 (1817) and is counted as one of the "Edo Hachifuji".
Fujizuka is rather steep, but I often see children climbing up quickly toward the 10th station.

  • Otowa Fuji!
    Otowa Fuji!
  • Aim for the 10th Station!
    Aim for the 10th Station!

The second is Nishikigoi in the pond at the main temple office.
Because it is a large and splendid Nishikigoi, even my children were surprised when they saw it for the first time.

A magnificent Nishikigoi!
A magnificent Nishikigoi!

◆Daihonzan Gokokuji Access
・Address: 5-40-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo ・Public transportation: Get off at “Gokokuji Station” of Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line

This time, I introduced shrines and temples where you can enjoy "plum" because it is the season when plums are fragrant.
How about visiting the plum festivals of Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Ushitenjin Kitano Shrine?
I also recommend Waseda Mizuinari Shrine and Gokokuji Temple.
Enjoy the arrival of spring.