Located northwest of Kyoto near the famous Golden Pavilion, Kitano Tenman-gu is a Shinto shrine where Sugawara no Michizane, an aristocrat from the ninth century, is worshipped as the deity of education. A tea ceremony is held within the shrine precincts every year on February 25 during the Plum Blossom Festival. Surrounded by hundreds of plum trees in full bloom, around thirty geiko (a local term in Kyoto for geisha) and maiko from the neighbouring geisha district (Kamishichi-ken) will serve matcha tea to visitors, accompanied by delicious Japanese sweets.
Gates open at 10:00 am and close at 3:00 pm. It costs ¥1,500 to enter and the ticket includes tea, sweets, a special gift and a ticket for the museum of the shrine. Tickets are limited to 3000 attendees, so be sure to arrive early enough as you will mostly likely have to queue before sitting.
Find out more about Kitano Tenmangu.
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Born in France, I was twenty years old when, passing by a local bookstore, a book about Japanese characters caught my attention. This was my first encounter with Japan, and one that would change my life in many ways. Earning a degree in Japanese Studies with a major in Japanese religions and folklore, I have studied for two years in Kyoto but it only took me a couple of weeks to fall in love with the city. I really feel privileged to have been able to meet so many wonderful people out there, that taught me a lot about Japanese culture and about myself. I love nature, visiting temples and shrines, reading and researching about their history, joining traditional festivals or riding my bike to discover hidden places throughout the city. I also enjoy taking pictures wherever I go and Japan is a never-ending source of inspiration for an amateur like me. With Osaka, Kobe, Nara and many other beautiful rural areas at a short train ride distance from Kyoto, Kansai is also a wonderful area for enjoying the richness of Japanese cuisine. Japan has many secrets for everyone to discover, and countless elusive moments of poetry that no guidebook can tell you about. I am delighted to be able to share the ones I had the chance to witness with you and everyone at Japantourist. I sincerely hope it will make you want to visit and discover this magnificent country.