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Updated: April 2, 2018
Wish for good grades or heightened knowledge at this petite shrine in the Ueno area dedicated to the god of learning. The grounds are particularly beautiful during the February plum blossom season and in November during the shrine's chrysanthemum festival.
One of several such shrines across Japan, Yushima Tenmangu enshrines Sugawara no Michizane, a famous scholar and politician who was deified after his death. As he is considered to be the god of scholarship and learning, as well as the fact that the grounds are near the elite University of Tokyo, you will see lots of students visiting the shrine to pray around exam time. Many will write their scholarly wishes on ema prayer plaques. The thousands of wooden plaques crowding together on the special racks are quite an impressive sight.
One of the best times to visit the shrine is the period from February to early March, when hundreds of plum trees burst into bloom with delicately scented pink, white and red flowers. The yearly plum blossom festival features outdoor tea ceremonies, dances and musical performances, as well as plenty of tempting food stalls.
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