Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Plum Blossoms at Ushi Tenjin Kitano Shrine in 2019

Ushi Tenjin Kitano Shrine is  a really local place. I mean it is really local.  It is tiny. But being a Tenjin shrine it is dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane and that means it is famous for two things, the first being a great place to come and pray if you are a student.  The second thing, is that it has plum blossoms.

Ushi Tenjin Kitano Shrine with some plum blossoms on a cloudy day

The shrine isn’t a bad place to visit during the plum blossom season.  It’s got everything you need with some nice flowers, a beautiful shrine with a great roof and some nice nice bull statues.  Just remember to rub the head of the bulls and then your own because apparently you’ll become more intelligent if you do. But other than that there isn’t that much there to see, so if you go the plum blossom season is the best time to visit it.

A komainu (lion dog deity), one of a pair, that guards the entrance to the shrine

When I visited, it was a little too in the season for the flowers, but some of the blooms weren’t quite nice.  The only problem was that there weren’t that many of them. That couldn’t be helped. In the end, I’ve got so many places I like to visit to see plum blossoms that it isn’t possible to see them at their best in every location, like when I took these pictures it was very cloudy.

A rather unique place to hang your omikuji!

Once you are finished, there are some other places to visit in the area.  Koishikawa Korakuen, one of the Tokyo’s Edo period gardens is very close. You’ll also find Bunkyo Civic Center nearby, which has a great observation deck.  Koishikawa Botanical Gardens and Yushima Tenjin are also within walking distance.

Some rather steep stairs that lead up to the shrine

The only thing about Ushi Tenjin Kitano Shrine is that is a little far from the local stations.  From Iidbashi Station it is about a fifteen-minute walk, which might be far for some people. The other thing is that you need to climb some serious stairs to get to it.  They are quite steep. If you don’t want to take the stairs, then you need to get entrance from the rear, which means you’ll need to walk up a fairly steep hill. Take your pick!

Bulls are one of the things that make a Tenjin shrine. Just make sure to rub its head and then yours!

There are larger and more famous shrines in Tokyo that also have plum blossoms, but this one shouldn’t be overlooked, especially during the plum blossom season.  You can see its website here.

Gear used for these pictures:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fujifilm XF 10 - 24 mm f/4.0 R OIS

 Fujifilm XF 16 - 55 mm f2.8 R LM WR

Film Simulation - Velvia/Vivid