On the trail of flowers and festivals, I decided to go check out the Fuji Matsuri or Wisteria Festival「藤まつり」 at Kameido Tenjin (or Tenmangu) Shrine「亀戸天神社」 in Koto-ku, Tokyo. There are over 100 wisteria roots in the shrine’s precincts, and they are usually in full bloom in Spring.
The Kameido Tenjin Shrine is relatively easy to locate as there is a trail of flags on the lampposts lining the road from the JR station towards the direction of the shrine.
On the street closer to our destination, decorative tiles can be found on the sidewalk and they depict seasonal scenes of the shrine’s premises. I took a picture of only one of the tiles as this was what I hoped to photograph later:
There is a torii gate at the main entrance of the shrine and already we could see temporary food stalls lining the entrance all the way into the shrine’s premises, which is a typical sight at any Japanese festival.
Ok…let’s go check out the flowers!
This was my first time seeing wisteria and it has a nice purplish colour.
I think from afar the flowers look like clusters of grapes!
Ok, mission accomplished!! Although it doesn’t quite look like the picture on the tile which I photographed earlier, it was good enough for me. ^_^
Another shot of the wisteria against the contrast of the bridge.
Close-up of the flowers…
I was amused when I heard many visitors to the festival (mainly Japanese) exclaim excitedly with animated chatter when they saw the Tokyo Sky Tree from here. Anyway, I joined in and took pictures of the wisteria with the Sky Tree as a backdrop. LOL…
Another shot with the Tokyo Sky Tree.
There were many food stalls selling local delicacies but I was saving my stomach for a buffet lunch later and thus didn’t patronise the stalls although the wagyu beef skewer at one of the stalls looked tempting and I felt it calling out to me… (^o^)
Here’s a brief look at the wisteria and the food stalls at the festival:
My visit here was only for the flowers but for those who are interested, this is the main building of the Kameido Tenjin Shrine.
There’s a performance area located just across from the main building…
…and a monkey show being performed on the day we visited! You don’t have to pay to watch but the lady will go around with a hat after the show and donations of any amount are welcome!
I must say that the monkey is extremely talented but it does have its temperament as there were certain stunts that it refused to do (or took its own time to action on) and just sat there nibbling on food and staring at everyone.
I’ll leave you with a short video of the monkey show…
Overall, it was a nice quiet festival (apart from the sounds from the monkey show) where you can go and admire flowers, plus try out the local food being sold at the stalls setup for the festival.
Not many visitors from outside of Japan are aware about this festival (i.e. not on the typical tourist map) and it’s something that you can consider adding to your itinerary if you are visiting Tokyo in Spring. However, do check their website (in Japanese only) for the latest schedules as flower blooming dates may differ each year.
Festival Dates for 2014: 21 Apr – 6 May
Kameido Tenjin Shrine
Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
JR Sobu Line to Kameido Station「亀戸駅」, then walk for 15 min.
JR Sobu Line or Tokyo Metro Hanzomon line to Kinshicho Station「糸町駅」, then walk for 15 min.