Ume (Prunus Mume) / Yushima Tenjin shrine
I had heard the Ume Matsuri[Ume festival] was held in the yard of the Yushima Tenjin, so Lee and I went there to see the Ume bloosoms.
Yushima Tenjin is famous shrine that enshrines Sugawara-no-Michizane. Michizane was a top ranking elite bureaucrat in Heian-era who excelled in scholarship, and now a day, he's defined as Tenjin-sama or Kami[God] of academics. At the end of his life, he fell into a political trap of his rival and demoted to the officer of far west area. At the day of departure, he made a "waka"[short poem] regarding Ume flower.
"Kochi hukaba nioiokoseyo Ume no hana, nushinasitote haru wo wasuruna" [When you feel the east wind, Ume flower, remind yourself to bloom, even if I am not there. (I'm so sorry my terrible translation)].
According to his regend, an Ume tree, which was loved by Michizane, flied out to his far west house from Kyoto (the regend of Tobi-Ume[flying Ume]). Ume flowers thus became to be recognized as the theme flower of Tenjin shrines (Tenman-gu) across Japan.
Since he is a Kami of scholorship, many students preparing for their college/highschool entrance exam visit there and pray for their success. Students hang Ema[wooden plaque] in which their wishes were written.
It was a entrance exam season, thus so many Emas were hanging there.(11rd Feb.)
And , below is the photo taken on 17th Feb. Students who succeed their exam visit to thank Tenjin-sama for thier success.
We'll try to get there again in the end of Februaly. Ume Matsuri will be held until early March.