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Plum Flowers at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Kitano Tenmangu (北野天満宮) shrine, frequently introduced in this blog, is otherwise friendlily called as Tenjin-san (天神さん) by many Kyoto residents. Since my childhood, the shrine is very familier to my family and I have visited there for countless times.

The other day, I enjoyed Ume (梅, plum flowers) viewing at the shrine. The Ume is the flower loved by Sugawara Michizane (菅原道真), a politician in the Heian (平安) period, who was relegate to Dazaifu (大宰府) in Kyushu (九州) by the conspiracy of his politic enemies. He never made it back to Kyoto alive and died in Dazaifu, and now enshrined as a deity here. The sad Tanka (短歌, Japanese poem) he composed on his way to Dazaifu is very famous and loved by many Japanese people.

“Kochi Fukaba, Nioi Okoseyo Ume no hana, Aruji Nashitote, Haruna Wasureso”, means “when the east wind blows, let it send your fragrance to me, plum flowers. Even though your master is gone, do not forget to bloom proudly in the spring”.

In February, the shrine is filled with the sweet scent of plum flowers.

Akane Kibune
Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade

5 mins. on foot from Kitano tenmangu, Kyoto city bus

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