Home » Yushima Seido and its beautiful shadows

Yushima Seido and its beautiful shadows

Yushima Seido is a Confucian temple in Tokyo.  It’s slightly unusual in that it is black.  Black was once thought to grant protection from fire.  It wasn’t a good theory because the building burnt down during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.  Anyway, I didn’t go to learn of its history; I went for its shadows.

Yushima Seido main entrance

It has lots of those.  This is especially true in the afternoon as the main doors face a south-westerly direction allowing the sunlight to enter.  The doors, pillars, rooftop sculptures and trees cast amazing shadows over the buildings and inner courtyard.   Yushima Seido is great for this type of photography.

deep shadows at Yushima Seido
people praying at Yushima Seido

Until this visit, I had never done a lot of this type of photography.  But I enjoyed my time there looking for this article’s pictures.  As my time there progressed, the more I found for my camera.


A list of things to photograph at Yushima Tenjin:

  • There are plenty of doors for framing.
  • Ema (votive tablets) on frames and reflect in pools.
  • Ginkgo trees in autumn.
  • Mythical animals sit on walls and roofs.  
  • The roofs are fantastic too.  All these things make it an excellent place for those who love shadows.
Yushima Seido roof
ema votive tablets on frame

If you want to do some shadow photography, you can’t go wrong with Yushima Seido.  It’s easy to photograph as very few worshippers will ever be in your way.  And as it is just over the Kanda River from Ochanomizu Station, it is easy to find.

Yushima Seido doors

I wouldn’t call it a major temple, but it is historically significant.  It is also home to a huge statue of Confucius.  The grounds are open from 9 am to 5 pm.

Yushima Seido guardian animal_

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.    And one last thing, if you are looking for another temple or shrine in the area, you could look at Kanda Myojin. If you have any comments or questions, leave them below.

4 thoughts on “Yushima Seido and its beautiful shadows”

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