March 14, 2013

Ushi Tenjin Kitano Jinja Ume Festival

Ushi Tenjin Kitano Jinja, a shrine in Bunkyo Ward. Despite passing through this area frequently, I had never stopped by until I saw it in a list of the best areas to visit for ume (cherry plum) season.

Taken while climbing the stairs.

The entrance to the main shrine.

"Please don't tie fortunes onto the ume branches."

Komainu (lion-dogs that guard shrines) and baby komainu.

Another baby komainu, hiding.

Oxen feature greatly in a certain type of shrines called Tenjin Shrines. (Another famous example: Yushima Tenjin.) Tenjin Shrines are dedicated to the spirit of Sugawara Michizane, an 8th-century scholar and politician.

Another motif of Tenjin Shrines: plum blossoms. This is the office of the shrine (and most likely other shrines in the area).

These photos were taken about a month ago, when it was still rare to find a flowering ume. Now, they have finished blooming.

A list of all the donors to the shrine.

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