Great Aura at The Tenmangu Shinto Shrine in Tokyo’s Yushima


I fell upon a Shinto shrine in the northern burbs of Tokyo called the Yushima Tenman-gū Shrine on my trip this year to Japan. The shrine itself is devoted to Tenjin, the Kami of Learning and is located in the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo, not far from the University of Tokyo. It is apparently a frequent site of prospective students hoping to pass the entrance exams there in April. At this time, the temple receives many offerings of ema votives to petition the kami for success at exams.

I found that amusing in a way as I was walking through there and reflecting on this recently learned factoid. Truth be told, unlike nearly every other shrine and temple I visited in Tokyo, the place was empty which is another reason why I loved it so much and what made my experience there so profound.

Built in 458 for another kami, Ameno-tajikaraono-mikoto of Japanese myth associated with strength and sports, the shrine was then expanded in 1355 to enshrine the kami Tenjin as well. Currently both kami are enshrined at this temple. The shrine was later rebuilt in 1455 at the behest of local warlord Ota Dokan, and enjoyed greater popularity during the Edo Period when it was visited by such Confucian scholars as Hayashi Doshun and Arai Hakuseki.

Due to Tenjin’s frequent association with plum trees, Yushima Tenmangu maintains an extensive grove of plum trees, and holds a yearly festival called ume matsuri in February or March depending on when the trees bloom. Take a walk with me through the grounds. Also be sure to watch the video at the end of this post as it includes coverage of the actual shrine itself as well as a sneak peak of the neighborhood surrounding the shrine called Yushima, which is where locals go, not tourists. You’ll find it somewhat surreal and very peaceful at the same time.



3-30-1 Yushima

Bunkoyo 113-0034


Take the Green/Chiyoda Line north from the center of Tokyo and get off at YUSHIMA. Just north of Yushima is a place called Nezu, which is also an old residential neighborhood and one worth walking around if you’re into architecture and real local cultural life.

For more posts on Japan, see our Japan section and on Tokyo, visit our Tokyo Japan / top things to do in Tokyo section.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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