Don’t miss the sight of wisteria in bloom
Kameido Tenjin shrine in Tokyo’s old commercial district of Koto Ward has been famous for its wisteria blossoms since the Edo period (1603-1868).
A Wisteria Festival is held every year between April 25 and May 9. Because of this year’s warm weather, the blossoms will be at full bloom toward the end of April, a shrine official said.
Wisteria trellises are set up around the temple and are covered in light purple blossoms. The growers train the wisteria vines to grow on these trellises so viewers can better see the dangling flowers.
Kameido Tenjin’s blossoms were the subject of a woodblock print in “Meisho Edo Hyakkei,” or “100 Views of Edo,” by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). The shrine’s Taiko bridge allowed the artist to frame the view with a graceful arch.
The shrine, as is the case with all the shrines named Tenjin in Japan, is dedicated to academic legend Sugawara no Michizane (845-903), who is regarded as the patron saint of scholarship. The shrine is popular among students taking a college-entrance examinations. They hang wood plates to bring good luck for their tests.
But Kameido Tenjin shrine is better known for its early summer wisteria blossoms rather than for the “god of study,” and is commonly called “the wisteria Kameido.” Its beauty captures the heart of all who visit in late April and May. Unlike many shrines in Tokyo this shrine is designed as a beautiful Japanese garden. Various kinds of birds and turtles wade in the pond and amuse spectators.
If you go ...
Take the JR Sobu Line to Kameido Station. The shrine is a 15-minute walk from the station; 03-3681-0010