Yushima Tenjin Shrine – The Shrine of Students and Plum Blossoms

Yushima Tenjin Shrine, long important to Tokyo's students, is an excellent shrine to check out in the city, particularly for its Ume Matsuri (plum festival).

Yushima Tenmangu or Yushima Tenjin is a Shinto shrine particularly important to Japanese students. Reason being, enshrined here is the spirit Ameno Tajikaraono, a god of learning. Especially around exam season, students visit to pray for academic success, pinning ‘Ema’ (small wooden plaques inscribed with messages for the gods) to the shrines walls.

The shrine is also famous for its beautiful plum blossoms (Ume) which blossom from February to March. In their honor, a popular festival (Ume Matsuri) is held, attracting large crowds of admirers. 

Yushima Tenjin Overview

Photo Credit: balbo42 via Flickr cc

Although established in 458 it was in 1355 that the spirit of Sugawara Michizane, a revered scholar, poet and politician was enshrined at the site in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Heian period cultural life. Since, scholars and intellectuals have pilgrimaged to the shrine, helping to give the shrine its continued significance today. 

Photo Credit: Dominique Linel via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Dominique Linel via Flickr cc

Notice the small “Ema” tablets at Yushima Tenjin, bundled and overflowing outside in the grounds.  

Photo Credit: KMrT via Flickr cc

Study Ema Photo Credit: KMrT via Flickr cc

To the right of the shrine’s entrance gates (torii) is a covered area for washing the hands and rinsing the mouth – acts of purification before entering the holy site. Besides this, there is a large bronze statue of a cow or anade-ushi (“stroking cow”), believed to be the servant of the god Tenjin and blessed with healing powers. 

Photo Credit: [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Anade Ushi Photo Credit: Yanajin33 [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Yushima Tenjin Festivals

January: From the 1st to the 7th of January the shrine holds “Hatsumoude” – a New Year’s festival in which worshippers pay their first visit of the year to the shrine.   

Ume Matsuri Photo Credit: Julie N. via Flickr cc

Ume Matsuri Photo Credit: Julie N. via Flickr cc

February and March: From February 7th and lasting a month, the Shrine holds the Ume-Matsuri Festival (Japanese plum festival), the most important and popular festival of the year. With over 300 trees of 20 varieties, Yushima Tenjin is one of the best places in the country to celebrate. 

"Mikoshi" Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut via Flickr cc

“Mikoshi” Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut via Flickr cc

May: From May 25th, the shrine holds the Tenjin-sai (the grand festival)  marked by drumming, dancing and the procession of Yushima Tenjin’s portable shrine, or mikoshi.

Photo Credit: kimubertvia Flickr cc

Photo Credit: kimubertvia Flickr cc

November: From the 1st of November to the 23rd, the shrine hosts the Kiku-matsuri (the chrysanthemums festival) in celebration of the blooming of the shrines many chrysanthemum flowers.  

Map 

Address: 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0034

Telephone: +81 03-3836-0753

Yushima Tenjin Shrine Access

Photo Credit: Dabikun [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Dabikun [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Take the Chiyoda Line to Yushima Sation and walk for roughly 2 minutes. 

Visitor Information

Duration Of Visit

30 minutes

Period Of Visit

All year. 

Opening Times

6am – 8pm

More Tokyo Temples and Shrines

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Ines Smaili

Ines Smaili

Hi, I'm Inès, I love to travel all around the world especially in Japan, I will share with you all the information needed to have the best trip of your life!



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# Things to Do in Tokyo # Things to Do in Japan

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