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
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.
Notice the small “Ema” tablets at Yushima Tenjin, bundled and overflowing outside in the grounds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Address: 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0034
Telephone: +81 03-3836-0753
Yushima Tenjin Shrine Access
Take the Chiyoda Line to Yushima Sation and walk for roughly 2 minutes.
Duration Of Visit
Period Of Visit
6am – 8pm