Yushima Tenjin is a shinto shrine located near Ueno. Even though I live nearby and I often go to Ueno, it was my first time visiting it. The layout of the shrine and the fact that it is on top of a hill makes it different and interesting. It is very famous for its plum blossoms festival.
Plum flowers appear before cherry blossoms, and are somewhat neglected compared to their famous rivals. However, they are delicate and pretty, and the way to go if you want to avoid the cherry blossom crowds.
Apparently this year they are late, probably due to the harsh winter. They were only starting to bloom when I went. But still, the shrine was nice. I had a cup of warm amazake （甘酒）while looking at a Japanese style garden.
This shrine is famous for school related matters, so many students come to pray for their success in the exam. Now is the university entrance exams time, so there were a lot of ema （絵馬）, wooden plates on which people write their wishes.
Coincidently, the day I went was Hina Matsuri, so there were some dolls displays.
There was also an interesting o-mikuji (fortune) vending machine : a moving character delivered the precious paper. I liked the one I got, but for some reason since it comes from a vending machine I’m not sure I should trust it…