Ume Blossom Festival and Open Tea Ceremony

Japan is very famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring but you can enjoy ume (plum) blossoms here and there this time of the year. One of the best places for ume blossoms is Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto. The Baikasai (Ume Blossom Festival) was held there on February 25th.


Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built in 947 in honor of Sugawara no Michizane, a scholor and politician. He is known as “god of academies” as he would read poem since he was a child. He was deified and the title of “Tenjin” was conferred. There are as many as 12,000 shrines that are dedicated to him in Japan and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is the origine and the main one. Many students go pray for the success there or other Tenmangu shrines in Japan before taking entrance exams for colleges. People who want to inmpove some skills pray there as well.




The Baikasai

The shrine is filled with Michizane’s favorite tree, red and white ume blossom at the Bai-en (ume garden). There are 50 types of 1,500 ume trees there and the garden is open to public when the flowers bloom. The shrine celebrates the Baikasai (ume blossom festival) for his death anniversary on February 25th every year. This traditional event has been held on the same day every year for 900 years. The festival also has an open-air tea ceremony where geiko and maiko at Kamishichiken district serve matcha (green tea) and Japanese sweets to guests. It is said about 3,000 guests enjoyed the tea.


The shrine is also famous for their Momiji-en (autumn maple garden) with 250 maple trees. And this is a great news for shop lovers that they have a flea market “Tenjin-san” on the 25th every month. There are lots of stalls for various Japanese items such as antique kimono, ceramic, books, Japanese pickles and other food… and almost anything. You can spend the whole day there.







And I personally would like to recommend the soy milk soft serve at the tofu shop Kyotofu Fujino. It is located right near the entrance of the shrine where you can buy various tofu and soybean products, and have lunch and sweets as well. I have their soft shave every time I visit the shrine. This is one of the best soft shave I have ever had in my whole life. Please, please try it if you ever have a chance to go there!



You can experience something interesting anytime at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine!

Top Image: YouTube Sankei News

Source:,, YouTube Sankei News,

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