Spring? Well, not quite – but we’re getting there.
It’s an all-Shinto day today, with some miscellaneous Higashiyama shots sandwiched on either side. And a chocolate-almond pancake from Cafe Rhinebeck pancaked in the middle.
I’ve been to many Tenjin Shrines, including this one, Kitano Tenmangu (the head Shrine) but given that the Ume are in bloom, a return visit seemed in order. They’re actually past their prime already – plum blossoms really early – but still pretty spectacular. Sadly the Jinja had the best groves walled off in a “pay-only” area, so no shots of those. Tenjin (in addition to dressing to the nines and putting the moves on young girls, apparently) was known to be especially fond of plum trees and cows, and they’re always in evidence at all of his Shrines.
The other main body of photos here is from Kamogamo Jinja, which was a first-time visit for me. That’s one of the luxuries of having a bit of breathing time – I can go a little further afield and see some time-consuming but worthwhile places. Kamogamo is the sister Shrine of Shimogmo Jinja, which I’ve seen and photographed before. That one is a bit further South and perhaps grander with its grove of majestic cedars and zelkovas, but Kamogamo is the more idyllic of the two, set in a glade next to a bubbling stream. The two mounds symbolize two trees that were said to welcome spirits on the site. These are very, very old Shrines – some of the oldest in Kyoto (Shimogamo dating to the 6th Century, and Kamogamo the 7th).