Plum blossom and the Yushima Tenjin shrine (Photo: Guillaume Dore)
Early Feb
Early Mar
Plum blossom and the Yushima Tenjin shrine (Photo: Guillaume Dore)

Yushima Tenjin Ume Matsuri 2025

Plum blossom festival in the heart of Tokyo

Venue: Yushima Tenmangu When: Early Feb - Early Mar 2025

Located a short distance from Ueno Park, the Yushima Tenjin shrine, also called Yushima Tenman-gū, might be unnoticed compared to other well-known shrines in Ueno Park. However, you will not regret the visit, especially if you go in February, during the plum festival that takes place during the whole month.

It is said that in the 10th century, a poet and scholar named Sugawara no Michizane died in exile after being the victim of a plot made by a member of the Fujiwara family. After his death, a tempest struck in the capital, killing many members of the Fujiwara family in the fire and flood that destroyed their house. The court concluded that the catastrophe was caused by the spirit of Michizane. To counter the bad omen, the court restored his honor, and he became a spirit named Tenjin, the God of the sky. At first, he was worshipped to protect from natural disasters, but with the time, poets and scholars also started to worship him and to pray in the sanctuary dedicated to him. Those shrines are now visited by students and their parents, which come to pray for their success during the exam time. It is said that Michinaze liked plums, and for that reason, those trees are often present in the grounds of Tenman-gū shrines, which are dedicated to Tenjin. Many stories also talk about the link between Michizane and cattle, and this is the reason why there is often cattle statues at these shrines.

The Yushima Tenjin Ume Matsuri is a festival that starts in the first week of February and finishes in the first week of March. It is possible to see different events like taiko, outdoor tea ceremony, various dance shows (Japanese dance, flamenco, belly dance), as well as religious ceremonies that are connected with the festival. Most of the activities are held on the week-end and change from week to week. This festival is also associated with street food, giving it a festive vibe. If you like to enjoy the Ume Matsuri, or to pray for the success in your studies, don’t forget to go to Yushima Tenjin the next time you pass by Ueno.

More info

Find out more about Yushima Tenmangu.

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