March 19, 2013

Second Visit to Yushima Tenjin's Ume Festival, Part 1

When I visited Yushima Tenjin's Ume Festival in February, it was so cold, the ume (plum) blossoms were hardly in bloom. I went again a couple weeks ago, just before the month-long festival ended.

It turned out to be the perfect day: all the trees were blooming just so. Even though I went in the evening of a weekday, the shrine was fairly packed.

Cows and ume figure greatly into Tenjin Shrines, which I explained a little about in a recent post.

 It's worth visiting the shrine just to see how many ume motifs you can pick up on, molded on the gates, carved into wood, printed on lanterns and so on.

As was the past three times I visited the shrine, the garden section was closed off.

 Hopes and wishes written on wooden ema plaques, and paper fortunes tied onto posts.

Wishes written in Thai and French.

This particular tree had long, sweeping branches that reminded me of a willow.

A strong wind could blow whatever holds up the ema over.

The trees in the side entrance, which actually has the most ume trees, were still not in full bloom. The sun doesn't hit this area much.

A small shrine section.

A komainu (lion-dog), looking quite fierce as the sun lights it from the side. 

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