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Yushima Tenjin: Tokyo's most popular shrine for scholars and students

3 Comments
By Abhijit Sen

Yushima Tenjin shrine or Yushima Tenmangu, is a prominent Shinto shrine located in the Bunkyo district of Tokyo. Its history dates back to 458 A.D. when it was established to worship Ame-no-tajikarao, a powerful deity from Japanese mythology.

Throughout the centuries, Yushima Tenjin has become synonymous with Sugawara no Michizane, a highly respected scholar and poet from the Heian period. In 1355, after Michizane passed away, he was revered as Tenjin-sama, a god of learning and enshrined at Yushima Tenmangu for his significant contributions to scholarship and education.

Nowadays, this shrine is a popular destination for students who come to pay their respects to the enshrined spirit as the Kami of Learning. Particularly during the season of school entrance exams, the shrine is inundated with young students who visit to pray for success in their examinations and present votive tablets known as Ema.

Annual Festivals

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Welcome spring at the Ume Matsuri. Image: PIXTA/masa

It is a popular shrine that hosts several festivals throughout the year. The precinct of the shrine is home to more than 300 ume (Japanese plum) trees that blossom in February and March, attracting many visitors during the ume matsuri (ume festival). Traditional music performances and many other events are held during this festival. Ume trees became a unique sight in Yushima Tenjin as Sugawara no Michizane often wrote poems about ume blossoms.

The shrine’s major festival called Tenjin-sai, happens annually on May 25, showcasing taiko drum performances and a highly decorated mikoshi (portable shrine) parade. Lastly, the kiku matsuri (chrysanthemum festival) is held from early to late November, where over 2,000 chrysanthemums are displayed on the shrine grounds. Historical figures are also represented by life-sized dolls clothed in flowers.

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© GaijinPot

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3 Comments
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Not my cup of tea thanks, more suitable for the older members of society and tourists

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

more suitable for the older members of society and tourist

Umh... a strange comment as the article clearly states "the shrine is inundated with young students who visit to pray for success in their examinations and present votive tablets known as Ema."

5 ( +6 / -1 )

While I wouldn’t class my self as a scholar and my days as a student are long gone, as a tourist I think it would be worth a visit if the picture above is anything to go by.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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