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Yushima Tenjin Shrine

Dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane this shrine hosts the famous Ume Matsuri, celebrating the arrival of spring and plum blossoms.

By Abhijit Sen

Yushima Tenjin shrine or Yushima Tenmangu, is a prominent Shinto shrine located in the Bunkyo district of Tokyo. Its history dates back to 458 A.D. when it was established to worship Ame-no-tajikarao, a powerful deity from Japanese mythology.

Throughout the centuries, Yushima Tenjin has become synonymous with Sugawara no Michizane, a highly respected scholar and poet from the Heian period. In 1355, after Michizane passed away, he was revered as Tenjin-sama, a god of learning and enshrined at Yushima Tenmangu for his significant contributions to scholarship and education.

Nowadays, this shrine is a popular destination for students who come to pay their respects to the enshrined spirit as the Kami of Learning. Particularly during the season of school entrance exams, the shrine is inundated with young students who visit to pray for success in their examinations and present votive tablets known as Ema.

Annual Festivals

Yushima Tenjin Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/masa Welcome spring at the Ume Matsuri.

It is a popular shrine that hosts several festivals throughout the year. The precinct of the shrine is home to more than 300 ume (Japanese plum) trees that blossom in February and March, attracting many visitors during the ume matsuri (ume festival). Traditional music performances and many other events are held during this festival. Ume trees became a unique sight in Yushima Tenjin as Sugawara no Michizane often wrote poems about ume blossoms.

The shrine’s major festival called Tenjin-sai, happens annually on May 25, showcasing taiko drum performances and a highly decorated mikoshi (portable shrine) parade. Lastly, the kiku matsuri (chrysanthemum festival) is held from early to late November, where over 2,000 chrysanthemums are displayed on the shrine grounds. Historical figures are also represented by life-sized dolls clothed in flowers.

Shrine Details

Yushima Tenjin Shrine

Photo by: Abhijit Sen Pet the cow before you leave.

The shrine rebuilt in 1995, adheres to the traditional Shinto architectural style. The buildings are adorned with intricate carvings on their eaves and a bronze statue of a cow stands next to the Shinto water basin. Among the Tenjin beliefs, the cow holds great significance and has been referenced in numerous legendary incidents since ancient times. According to legend, rubbing a specific part of the cow’s body can alleviate pain in the corresponding part of one’s own body.

Yushima Tenjin shrine is a cultural and historical landmark in Tokyo. It is a popular destination for students, scholars and tourists alike and its picturesque surroundings and festivals make it an exciting and vibrant place to visit.

Things To Know

Other places of interest

Ueno Park

Ueno Park is a popular public park in Japan known for its zoo, museums and cherry blossoms. Yushima Tenjin shrine is located just five minutes away from the famous Ueno park which is one of the most popular tourist destinations. 

Hours and fees

The shrine is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free

How To Get There


By train

The entrance can be conveniently accessed by taking a brief 2-minute walk from Exit 3 of Yushima station on the Chiyoda Line.

Where To Stay

Ueno First City Hotel
  • 1-14-8 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0005 Japan
  • ¥8,845 - ¥33,393
  • 3.85/5 (1,842 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Centurion Hotel Ueno
  • 2-3-4 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0005 Japan
  • ¥8,000 - ¥143,200
  • 3.45/5 (2,924 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
R&B Hotel Ueno Hirokoji
  • 1-18-8 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0005 Japan
  • ¥8,200 - ¥17,800
  • 4.25/5 (1,793 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Ueno-Okachimachi
  • 1-20-8 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0005 Japan
  • ¥10,500 - ¥36,500
  • 3.5/5 (360 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
bnb+ Ueno Park
  • 2-8-4 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0005 Japan
  • ¥4,300 - ¥15,300
  • 0.4 km

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