Spring in Tokyo: Plum Blossom Viewing at Ueno's Yushima Tenmangu Shrine (湯島天満宮) - Vikingess Voyages

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring in Tokyo: Plum Blossom Viewing at Ueno's Yushima Tenmangu Shrine (湯島天満宮)

Above: Plum flowers in bloom at Yushima Tengu
Japan is already known worldwide for its beautiful cherry blossom trees blooming around late March until early April in the areas around Tokyo. It is no wonder that this also is when the number of visiting tourists to Japan hits its yearly peak, a number that keeps increasing every year. But did you know that if you visit Japan a little bit earlier you can enjoy the just as beautiful plum flowers that are blooming from the beginning of February to early March?

Above: The Yushima Tenmangu seen from the road 
An added bonus to visiting during the plum blossom season is that there are fewer tourists coming to Japan, and thus less crowded at the tourist spots and easier to get good deals on accommodation. And to be honest, unless you’re very peculiar about sakura you might not even be able to tell the difference between the plum and the cherry blossom flowers. Last week I went to the Yushima Tenmangu shrine close to Ueno Park, where my friends and I spent some time admiring the magnificent flowers.

Above: Plum flowers outside of the Yushima Tengu shrine wall. Not yet in full bloom but still a beautiful contrast to the blue sky
The Yushima Tenmangu shrine is situated just a 15 min walk from Ueno Station. You can choose to climb a staircase in order to get up to the shrine area, but we chose to take the road leading up around the outside of the shrine wall. On the way, we enjoyed the sight of some of the blooming plum flowers.
Above: Plum flowers outside of the Yushima Tenman-gu shrine wall. 
Above: At the top of the hill outside the entrance to the Yushima Tenmangu shrine. 
Above: The entrance gate to the Yushima Tenmangu shrine. 
We were a bit early so not all of the flowers had started to bloom yet. Here are some photos from inside the shrine:
Above: Inside the shrine area you can find numerous stalls selling beverages, snacks and souvenirs.
Above: Pink plum flowers by the garden inside the shrine area.
Above: The mandatory selfie
Above: White plum flowers by the garden inside the shrine area.
Above: White plum flowers in front of a small waterfall.
Above: Tea ceremony
The shrine also held various seasonal events and one of them was the tea ceremony. For 600 yen extra one could attend the tea ceremony conducted outside by the garden.
Above: Visitors in line to pray for good luck
The Yushima Tenmangu shrine is known as a shrine that brings good fortune for students, and many people visit the shrine to pray for luck on exams and tests. Above you can see the big line of visitors who've come to pray for good luck.
Above: Various blooming bonsai trees for display inside the shrine area
Inside the shrine, we also enjoyed seeing the shrine's display of blooming bonsai trees in different colors. 
Above: Entertainment at the stage inside the shrine area
As a part of the plum season, the Yushima Tengu shrine also holds daily performances on the stage inside the shrine area. 
 Above: A bridge inside the shrine area
 Above: We visited the shrine the third weekend of February but there was still many flowers not in bloom
The plum flower festival at Yushima Tenmanguu lasts from February 8th until March 8th, so there is still time left for those who want to visit during the flowering period. When we visited the shrine mid-February there was still many buds not yet in bloom, so it is still not too late to pay it a visit.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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 Basic Info
  • ・Yushima Tenmangu Shrine (湯島天満宮)
  • ・Address:3 Chome-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō-to 113-0034
  • ・Homepage: yushimatenjin.or.jp/ (Japanese only)

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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