Ushi-Tenjin Kitano Shrine plum blossoms in 2023

I hadn’t been to Ushi-Tenjin Kitano Shrine for three years! Do you know it? Probably not. It’s tiny, but it has history and plum blossoms. Of course, I went there for the flowers. But, even if you go for them, your stay will probably be brief.

A brief history of Ushi-Tenjin Kitano Shrine

Ushi-Tenjin Kitano dates back to the 12th century. Sugawara no Michizane, a famous court official who became the deity Tenjin, appeared to Minamoto no Yoritomo in a dream. While sitting on an ox, he foretold two fortunate events which became reality the following year. 

Yoritomo built the shrine in gratitude. So even though it is small, it has a lot of history. Today, it attracts many visitors. Many go to see it because of its cow symbology. Apparently, Sugawara loved them.

The shrine and its plum blossoms

Ushi-Tenjin Kitano shrine is tucked away in the backstreets of Bunkyo Ward. It’s roughly a ten-minute walk from Iidabashi Station. You’ll need a map to find it for sure!

Getting there might be a trial for some as the stairs up to the shrine are steep. But if you follow the road around, you’ll find a slope to a rear entrance. That might be a little easier if you have bad knees. Once you get over that, you’ll be inside this tiny place.

When I stress tiny, it’s because it is! The plum blossoms will be right in front of you. They surround the shrine. You won’t have to look far for them.

I’m confident when I say your visit to Ushi-Tenjin will be a brief one. While it has historical significance, it’s really small. If you go there for just the flowers, you might be disappointed. It won’t take long to get your photos. Still, you have options in the area.

Koishikawa Korakuen, an Edo-period park, isn’t far away. It has a nice grove of plum blossoms. Actually, I’d recommend pairing it with Ushi Tenjin. You could easily visit both on the same day. They should be on your Tokyo trip itinerary if you are into flower photography. Please leave your questions and comments below.

rabbit ema votive tablet
Rabbit ema (votive tablet).

What was my photo gear for these photos?

  • Camera body: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lenses: Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

Where is Ushi-Tenjin Kitano Shrine?

It is in Bunkyo City, near three train/subway stations:

  1. Iidabashi
  2. Korakuen
  3. Suidobashi

Click here to see it on Google Maps.

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