Enjoy Kyoto’s Festivals At Kitano Tenmangu’s Tenjin-san! 2015/02/24
Shopping and dining… at a shrine?!
Everyone knows that Kyoto is home to an abundance of shrines. But do you know that there are plenty of shrines that are not just open for praying?
On fixed dates every month, stalls selling miscellaneous goods and food spring up around 40 over shrines that open up their grounds for bazaars (known as ichi in Kyoto).
Allow us to introduce Tenjin-ichi, located in Kitano Tenmangu, the most prominent shrine bazaars of them all!
From small bites to seasonings, handmade goods to antiques, you’ll find just about everything in Tenjin-san!
Tenjin-ichi is so well known and well loved by the people of Kyoto that it is often referred to as ‘Tenjin-san’ (the –san suffix, usually used to address people, implies that the monthly event is personified out of the people’s great fondness for it).
From the torii (gateway) at the shrine’s entrance, to the main shrine building where the gods reside, is a long walkway where small stalls are packed next to each other. You can taste fresh, piping hot local delicacies such as taiyaki, takoyaki and okonomiyaki, which are prepared right on the spot for you, or buy back home some of Kyoto’s finest seasonings such as the ichimi, along with pickled vegetables made from Kyoto’s freshest produce.
Even if food is not your kind of thing, there are also second-hand clothing, kitchenware, ornaments and antiques that are worth taking a look. Lately, stalls that sell cute handmade mascots, accessories and bags are on the rise!
Time flies without knowing when you are wandering around this bustling shrine bazaar!
Kitano Tenmangu is THE original Tenmangu
There are actually more than 3000 shrines in Japan with the name ‘Tenmangu’! This is because the same god – in this case, the god of learning, Sugawara no Michizane – resides in all of them. The roots of all these shrines can be traced back to Tenjin-ichi in Kitano Tenmangu.
Tenjin-ichi is held on the 25th of every month, as 25th is Sugawara no Michizane’s day of birth. So don’t just go there for the shopping and eating! Pray at the shrine and you might just be blessed with higher intelligence!
Beautiful plum flowers
The plum flower is also one of the shrine’s many signature trademarks, gracing most of the shrine’s ground with its presence. There are currently an estimated 1500 plum trees being planted on the premise.
The plum flowers bloom around the period of February to March, when the shrine is also bustling with people wanting to catch a glimpse of the blossom.
Japanese confectionery stores and restaurants around the shrine will also incorporate plums into their menus during this season, so you can enjoy not just plum flower viewing but also plum dining and shopping!
When coming to Japan, do check with our trip advisors at Grand Pages if there are any shrine bazaars being held! Enjoy!
Kitano Tenmangu Tenjin-ichi
Held every month on the 25th (available for prayers everyday)
Open from 9am to 5pm daily
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