At New Year, Kitano Tenman-gu is crowded with visitors, many of them praying for academic success in exams that take place early in the year. There is also a calligraphy competition that draws many young calligraphers, and a traditional kyogen performance in an ancient open theater. The shrine is famous for plum blossom, and at New Year you can already see the buds beginning to swell. If the crowds become too much for you, take a stroll along the river next to the shrine. If you need refreshments you can buy green tea and Japanese sweets in a room warmed by traditional pottery hibachi (charcoal burners.)
Find out more about Kitano Tenmangu.
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I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for 1 year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for 9 years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014.I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.