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

Plum Blossoms at Yushima Tenjin in 2019

I’ve been to Yushima Tenjin many times now.  It’s a great shrine to visit due to its location and beautiful architecture.  The best thing about it though is its plum blossom festival, which I’ve featured here on the blog previously.  The festival is very enjoyable with the flowers mostly in the garden at the the rear of the shrine complex, but you’ll find them all around the complex.  I highly recommend it.

The main hall of Yushima Tenjin with some plum blossoms

On the day I visited the shrine, I had already been to Ushio Tenjin Kitano Shrine to see its plum blossoms earlier in the day, which was about a thirty-minute walk away.  At Ushio, the weather had been exceptionally overcast but at Yushima it had improved somewhat. We got to see a little blue sky at least.

There was a good crowd there.  The flowers weren’t quite in full bloom, but not they weren’t bad either.  A few of them were actually perfect, but they were few in number. Once again I couldn’t quite get the timing right.  If I could have delayed my visit by one week, which wasn’t possible, they would have looked much better.

A monkey performing during the festival

While I was there I got to see a monkey show, which is something common at events like these.  I’m not a big fan of these to be honest. They are on the same level as dolphin and crocodile shows.  Yes, the animals look cute, but I wonder how much value such shows actually have. Something for everyone, individually, to wonder about I guess.

During the duration of the festival the shrine draws an enormous amount of people to pray there.  And many of those worshippers will be students who will be asking Tenjin, the enshrined deity of academics, for a little help in passing their exams.  The question is though, does he listen to them? We’ll never know!

Ema, by the thousand literally, all piled up on racks. Write your wish on them and hopefully the god of the shrine will listen to you

I’m hoping I will be able to visit Yushima Tenjin one more time this season.  It really is one of my favourite places in Tokyo for plum blossoms and I really hate not being able to visit it when the flowers are in full bloom.  As well as the flowers I enjoy looking at the stalls and eating some of the food that is available which is always fun.

There are a lot of great places to see plum blossoms in Tokyo, but this shrine is one of the best.  If you are ever in the city when they are in bloom you really need to visit it. Yushima Tenjin’s website can be seen here and you can read my article about it here.

Gear used for these pictures:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fujifilm XF 16 - 55 mm f2.8 R LM WR

 Fujifilm XF 55-200 mm f3.5-4.8 R LM OIS    

Film Simulation - Velvia/Vivid