Tokyo Diaries – Ushi Tenjin Kitano

IMG_0357 IMG_0359 IMG_0364

Yes, it’s already blossom season in Tokyo.

I paid a brief visit to the small but pretty Ushi Tenjin Shrine today, about a 20-minute walk from my apartment near Chuo University.  The snow hasn’t even melted yet (in fact it flurried while I was there) but the shrine’s Ume Matsuri has already started, as have most of them, and given that today is a holiday (Foundation Day) I thought I’d check it out and snap a few quick photos.  It’s early days yet – the plum blossoms probably won’t peak until the end of the month – but the vanguard is already making its presence felt. 

IMG_0356 IMG_0358 IMG_0360
IMG_0361 IMG_0362 IMG_0363


  1. n

    AWESOME. I was afriad i would missed the blossom since i'm going in early march but this gives me hope.

  2. It'll be dicey – first few days in March and after that, likely not much. But hope for the best or be willing to head to the mountains.

  3. e

    What a lovely blush of colour in the still subdued surroundings. Plum blossoms smell quite sweet (well the Western ones from my childhood at least)… is the fragrance spreading already?

  4. Not much so far. But ume do definitely have a much stronger fragrance than sakura.

  5. F

    Oh ho?

    Looks like you are getting them too? Where I am (far NorCal) the fruit trees began blooming a few weeks ago – just the buds then, but still quite beautiful.

  6. S

    Man, I can remember up in Iwate it was late April before my town saw the blossoms. It is amazing how the blossoms trickle up the country.

  7. April – are you sure that wasn't cherry blossoms? That's late for ume, even in Iwate I would have thought.

  8. R

    Wow, that's quick — I was just reading your other posts about snow and now we're talking about a possible start of Spring. You know we're still having a long ride of winter — it was -36 this morning with windchill. At moments like this, I wish that I were at places like Tokyo… I love the second (or middle) photo there — I just love to see how the colour of pink bursts in and uplifts all the grim reality of harsh winters. Oh no, I'm not complaining, but I could so totally appreciate the blossom and bright colours when it's been -36 for weeks — or felt like weeks. I absolutely agree with you that when the sun is bright and the winds are calm, white winters can be so charming — I adore the quietness in the surroundings and freshness in the air. It just hasn't happened a lot this winter and I wish that we could ship all the snow in our front yard to places suffering from drought… Anyway, Tokyo is sure amazing — the closeness to nature in a metropolitan just fascinates me.

  9. l

    About a month to go for my Kyoto/Osaka trip. Mid-March in Kyoto is the best time for plum blossoms and will definitely be visiting the Kitano Tenmangu shrine in Kyoto. Looking forward in anticipation.

  10. R

    Yikes! I was there on the 11th! If you spotted an oblivious, somewhere-on-cloud-11 barbarian with a reddish ponytail, that was me! ^^

  11. Well, chalk one up to extreme coincidence – same day I was there (Noon-ish). Didn't see any other gaijin, though!

Leave a Comment