New video: Plum blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto, 2017

Today I went to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine to see the plum blossoms and to visit the markets. I thought you might like to see the new video of the blossoms.

Plum blossom, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto, February 25, 2017

Plum blossom, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto, February 25, 2017

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is famous for plum blossoms. Today was Baikasai, when Maiko and Geiko serve tea. It was crowded from the road, through the market stalls, and on into the shrine complex. Once inside, I caught a glimpse of Maiko and Geiko leaving, so knew I was too late to photograph them serving tea, which is regretful. Maybe next year…

However, there was a wonderful exhibition in the treasury of swords, body armour, calligraphy, and a few statues. Upon exiting the treasury, I saw that there was an Okagura performance in the building next door. Okagura is Shinto music and dance to entertain the gods, and you can see a part of this performance in the video.

After proceeding through the main shrine area where people were lining up to offer their prayers, I lined up to enter the garden. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine has a sprawling garden that dips into two valleys. The tea was being served to everyone in the valley closest to the shrine itself, so I headed there. Lining up again, I made my way to the tea hut. The tea was a salty pickled plum tea, served with two sweets with pink and white icing. The contrast between the flavours was refreshing.

Umeboshi (pickled plum) tea and sweets

Umeboshi (pickled plum) tea and sweets

Moving from the tea hut along the paths among the plum trees, there were many opportunities to enjoy the different colours and kinds of blossoms. Despite the fact that the paths were very crowded, by the end of the walk I felt totally relaxed.

Exiting the garden, I returned through the main shrine to head out into the markets. Unfortunately, my phone stopped working just then, so I wasn’t able to take photographs to share with you. The markets are held at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine on the 25th of every month throughout the year, so I will return another time to make a short introduction for you.

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