Tokyobling's Blog

Umematsuri – Plum Blossom Festival at Yushima Tenjin

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on March 3, 2014

Sometimes you are just lucky here in Tokyo. On Sunday I was walking through the neighborhood of Yushima right on the edge of Bunkyo ward, next to Ueno. I wasn’t expecting to walk into a festival complete with omikoshi and men and women dressed in white hatten coats. These festivals are very rare in the winter, especially in February and March but it seems that the flowering of the plum trees are a big deal here at the famous Yushima Tenjin shrine. The weather was quite bad, with a cold rain and a massive overcast sky. It was colder than usual even for the season but the locals did a good job in carrying their omikoshi around the streets bordering the shrine.

The area of Yushima is one of the oldest in Tokyo. In the old days you could see the sea from the high ground of Yushima, and arriving on boats it looked like a small island which explains part of its name, shima (island). Today the area is part of Bunkyo Ward but between 1887 and 1947 it was the center of the old Hongo Ward, when Tokyo was still known as Tokyo City (東京市) unlike today’s official designation as Tokyo Metropolis (東京都) and consisted of 35 wards compared to today’s 23 special wards.

I’ll post more photos of this rare early March festival, so stay tuned!

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14 Responses

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  1. zoomingjapan said, on March 3, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Yay! Spring festivals!
    I love your photos! ^____^

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 3, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Thank you! I might have been a spring festival but it felt like a deep winter festival! (^-^) The poor plum blossoms have had a harsh spring so far! (^-^)

      Like

      • zoomingjapan said, on March 3, 2014 at 7:57 am

        The weather this year is crazy, isn’t it?
        And it’s supposed to get colder again this week. I’ve had enough. Spring, where are you????!! *g*

        Like

        • tokyobling said, on March 3, 2014 at 11:36 am

          Crazy indeed! And it is really cold today as well. This summer should be a scorcher!

          Like

  2. travelingilove said, on March 3, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Ayayayayaya! Why I’m not there? WHYYYY? 😉 :))

    Like

  3. pk1154 said, on March 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Such wonderful faces! Such spirit!

    It looks awfully cold and damp. No wonder the little one is so somber. The fellow with bare legs has got to be feeling it, even as he manages to look serene.

    (You aren’t as cold as here, though. The average temperature for March 3 here should be close to 10 deg C. Today the high will be -12. Some of the ice patches in the street have to be at least 15cm thick, with ruts all the way down to the pavement. Once you get in the ruts, it’s hard to get out!)

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 4, 2014 at 1:47 am

      Thank you! (^-^) These guys have a lot of fighting spirit! The rain was never hard but even then I was soaked to the bone by the time I got home. I have no idea how the guys with bare legs manage to avoid the heart attack I would have in a couple of minutes from having to endure this cold. Your neck of the woods sounds much worse though…!

      Like

  4. Shelli@howsitgoingeh? said, on March 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    So many festivals!!! I LOVE the shot of the colorful boy amongst the grey + white rain parkas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyobling said, on March 5, 2014 at 4:45 am

      Thanks! Yes, he was a little bit of walking color among the white clothes of the festival participants! (^-^)

      Like

  5. fl0werfullofp0ckets said, on March 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    your photos are so engaging and pretty! i do love a spring festival 🙂

    Like

  6. sarabanto said, on March 7, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I love how happy and energetic people become in times like this:) with your photos you can feel like one of them (and start smiling:))

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on March 13, 2014 at 12:14 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! Festivals are all good – can’t find anything negative about them at all!

      Like


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