After the cherryblossom season, many flowers start blooming. Now it’s the season for wisteria. There are several spots in Tokyo where you can admire wisteria but the most famous place may be Kameido Tenjin Shrine. It is sometimes called as Tenmangu Shrine. Tenjin literally means God of Sky who is Sugawara no Michizane who was a scholar, poet and politician in 9th and 10th century. Tenmangu means the place which worships Tenjin. There are many Tenjin Shrines throughout Japan but this one in Kameido is famous for its wisteria. Every year between late April and early May, Wisteria Festival is held in this shrine.
I found a woodblock print of wisteria in Kameido Tenjin made by Hiroshige Utagawa. This print is kept in Brooklyn Museum. People enjoyed wisteria from centuries ago.
Now it’s full in bloom so the shrine was quite crowded.
While admiring wisteria full in bloom, I saw some animals in the shrine – an owl, a sacred cow and turtles in the bond.
I don’t know why they have an owl here but a cow and turtles have meanings. When Sugawara no Michizane died, his body was carried by a cow carriage but the cow suddenly stopped moving in the middle and died on the spot. People said that the cow died because it was so sad and the very spot became Tenjin Shrine. That is Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka which is the very original shrine in Japan.
“Kame” of Kameido means turtles. Those who realized their wish after they prayed in the shrine came to the shrine to show their appreciation and sometimes it is said that there are people who bring turtles with them and release them in the pond. Indeed, there are so many of them.
Now is the time to visit this shrine but it is also famous for the plum blossoms and they hold plum festival in February. Inside the shrine, there is an interesting monument of writing brushes.
I took more photos so please visit my flickr page.
For More Information on Kameido Tenjin Shrine
Address: 6-1 Kameido 3-chome, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Access: 15-minute walk from Kameido Station of JR Sobu Line
15-minute walk from Kinshicho Station of JR Sobu Line and Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line