梅の名所 北野天満宮(京都)Kitano Tenmangu (Kyoto), a famous place for plum blossoms


Unfortunately, due to the influence of the coronavirus, the day when I can go on a trip has not come yet. In Japan, cherry-blossom viewing is so pervasive that information on cherry blossoms is reported in the news. On the other hand, the flowering of plum blossoms may not be reported so much, but I personally prefer plum blossoms to cherry blossoms.


Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, which is famous for its plum blossoms in Kyoto, is a favorite place that I have visited once when I was a student in Kyoto and have come to see plum blossoms several times. Umeboshi from Kitano Tenmangu is also delicious. It’s the plum season, so I would like to introduce it.

北野天満宮の由緒 History of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine


Kitano Tenmangu is the head office of Tenmangu and Tenjinsha, which are about 12,000 companies nationwide.

Heian period
It started when Sugawara no Michizane was enshrined
The god name of “Kitano Tenmangu Tenjin” is recognized
→ Pray for national peace
Visit of Emperor Ichijo
Since then, it has a connection with the imperial family for generations.


It is also famous as a “god of learning” because Sugawara no Michizane was enshrined in a terakoya in the Edo period.

境内で見られる梅 Plums seen in the precincts


Sugawara no Michizane, the god of worship, always loved the plum trees planted in the garden of the mansion, and he often read them in waka poems. For that reason, many plum trees are planted in the precincts of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, and there is also Umeen. There are about 1500 plum trees of 50 species in the precincts.


Early-blooming plums can be seen in mid-December. And from there you can see beautiful plum blossoms until around March.


Sightseeing in Kyoto is cold in February and March, and it is said to be a quiet season, and the number of tourists is said to decrease dramatically. However, this Kitano Tenmangu Shrine has plum blossoms, so it is also a season to enjoy slowly.


Also, with the opening of Umeen, dried plums made from plum fruits harvested in the precincts are on sale. It is a large, moderately sweet and delicious umeboshi. When I can buy it, I buy a lot of souvenirs and go home. Umeboshi, which cannot be bought anywhere else, is ideal for elderly people and those who are undergoing medical treatment, and is appreciated in the cold and sick season.

蒔絵品も見られる宝物館 Treasure hall where you can see lacquer work


There is a treasure hall in Kitano Tenmangu, where you can see valuable Japanese art such as swords, hanging scrolls, and dedications(Painting frame) owned by Kitano Tenmangu.


In particular, the sword “Onikirimaru” is also registered as an important cultural property. It seems that some people come to see this as a Japanese sword of the Genji. As the name suggests, this “Oni-kiri” is said to be a “sword that cut a demon” and is said to have been used by Watanabe no Tsuna, a servant of Genji. This demon is said to be “Ibaraki Doji”. (There are various theories)


“Ibaraki-doji” introduces what Shibata Zeshin drew in past posts. If you are interested, please read this post as well.↓


Of course, I went to see the lacquer work. At the time I went to the treasure hall, only two shots were available. The Maki-e sword in the photo was a little far away through the glass and was hard to see, but it was a wonderful lacquer work because the shells were neatly arranged on the same surface while the gold powder was sown all over. Even though the sword’s scabbard is a plaque, the shells are beautifully pasted, and I remember thinking that I wanted to see it a little closer.


In addition, the decoration of the metal part was elaborately made, reminiscent of “Gold and silver swoed” from the Nara period.

(参照過去投稿:研出蒔絵『金銀鈿荘唐大刀』Togidashi maki-e 『Gold and silver sword』


In addition to the treasure hall, there are many parts where the craftsmanship of traditional crafts, which has been handed down historically, shines throughout, such as the forehead and wood carvings of the shrine.


There was no caption or explanation about who drew the picture. Even if it is not in the treasure hall and is casually decorated in the precincts, it may actually be a great treasure.


In Kyoto, you can often see precious works of art that can only be seen through glass casually at museums, so I think it is a very valuable and important place.


Please visit there when you go sightseeing in Kyoto.



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