Yushima Shrine

Shinto Shrine copy
A fabulous example of Imperial shrines, which are built of unlacquered cedar with gold leaf detailing

I love the Yushima shrine because it’s beautiful, and hosts some of the most stunning seasonal festivals in all of Tokyo. If you’re in Tokyo in March of November, the plum blossom festival and the chrysanthemum festival are really must-see.

The unpainted wood and gold style of shrine is my favorite, and this is the most beautiful example I know.
The unpainted wood and gold style of shrine is my favorite, and Yushima Tenjin is the most beautiful of all.

The kami-sama at Yushima Tenjin are known for smiling upon students who beg them for good results, so if you know anyone who’s trying to ace their entrance exams, buy an ema here and wish for their success!

Write your wish on one of these prayer plaques emblazoned with a bull, and the kamai-sama will consider your request. This shrine is especially known for granting the wishes of those who want to be accepted at prestigious Tokyo University.
Write your wish on one of these prayer plaques emblazoned with a bull, and the kamai-sama will consider your request. This shrine is especially known for granting the wishes of those who want to be accepted at prestigious Tokyo University.
PlumBonsai
In February, the plum trees here are spectacular. These are special bonsai plums, trained to bloom at exactly the same time.
There are many kinds of plum trees blooming on the grounds, all gorgeous.
There are many kinds of plum trees blooming on the grounds, all gorgeous.

In the fall, don’t miss the chrysanthemum festival, where the exhibits never fail to wow and entertain.

Each year, there are different historical figures, all made of...living chrysanthemums!
Each year, there are different historical figures, all made of living chrysanthemums.
Each of these huge balls is one plant!
Each of these huge balls is one plant!
The bridge is laden with a special style of bonsai chrysanthemums that remind me of Elvis bouffants.
The bridge is laden with a special style of bonsai chrysanthemums that remind me of Elvis bouffants.
On festival weekends, you can often catch a free monkey show at the Yushima Shrine.
On festival weekends, you can often catch a free monkey show at the Yushima Shrine.

Let’s leave through the big torii gate to the right of the main shrine building. We’ll go straight down the long flight of steps with the wiggly handrail, and at the bottom (to the left) we’ll spot a garden that’s actually a musical instrument.

WaterGarden
Put your ear up to the bamboo tube angling out of the ground and you can hear the water music.

MAP

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

 For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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