Visit Kameido Tenjin Shrine for Spectacular Wisteria Canopies, Scenic Bridges, and a Glimpse of Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Tour Wisteria 2022.05.16
Popular with students and flower lovers, this Tokyo shrine and its wisteria festival are a local landmark.
Kameido Tenjin Shrine was built back in the days before Tokyo became the capital of Japan, when it was a mid-17th-century bayside port city ruled by the Edo clan, and just the place for an intrepid young Shinto priest. The shrine is dedicated to the god Tenjin, who was once a scholar named Sugawara no Michizane, and it's said that Kameido Tenjin was established by a descendant of the man-turned-god himself, a priest who traveled north from his position at the main Tenjin shrine, Dazaifu Tenmangu in Kyushu. Due to Tenjin's history as an erudite scholar, Kameido Tenjin and all of the other shrines in his honor are particularly popular places for students to come and pray for good grades and passing test scores, but that's really just one small reason why Kameido Tenjin has become such a popular sightseeing destination in eastern Tokyo.
Kameido Tenjin Shrine was, unfortunately, not spared from the destructive wave of war and fires that swept through Tokyo during the 20th century, which means that the current buildings are relatively modern reconstructions of the original mid-1600s architecture. But the good news is that many of the most beautiful aspects of the shrine are just as they were when samurai walked the streets of Edo. Unlike the wide-open spaces that allow visitors to line up in front of the alters of most Shinto shrines, the grounds of Kameido Tenjin are home to a romantic maze of smaller paths, sparkling ponds, and garden flowers that is hard for sightseers to resist.
Many fans of the shrine will tell you that at Kameido Tenjin, the star of the show isn't actually the honored Shinto god, but the beautiful wisteria trees growing outside. Every year Kameido Tenjin hosts the perennially popular Wisteria Festival (also called the Fuji Matsuri/藤まつり) from mid-April to early May to celebrate the blooming of the little purple flowers, and huge crowds arrive at the shrine in waves to enjoy the event. Of all the wisteria festivals found in the Tokyo area, Kameido Tenjin is by far the most easily accessible for those in the city (much closer than Ashikaga Flower Park), and one of the most beautiful as well.
The Kameido Tenjin Shrine garden has more than 50 enormous wisteria trees, and the long trailing branches are supported by pergolas stretched out over the garden paths and the calm pond waters. Japanese wisterias are known for their particularly long and luxurious clumps of little purple flowers, and the trees form shady canopies overhead, complete with flower-filled tendrils that just brush the tops of visitors' heads.  The garden also has tall moon bridges painted red like the torii shrine gate at the front entrance, and between the vibrant vermillion bridges arching high above the water, the bright green leaves, and the elegant purple flowers, every snapshot looks like a painting during peak wisteria season!
During the Wisteria Festival, festival stalls line up around the circumference of the shrine grounds selling tasty Japanese classics like yakisoba, karaage, and okonomiyaki, making it an excellent event for both flower fanatics and street food lovers. Foodies should also look out for stalls or nearby shops selling kuzu mochi, a sweet treat that's said to be a specialty of the Kameido area. Fortunately, there's plenty of time to look around and see it all, since the shrine stays open past sunset to accommodate the crowds of festival-goers. Lit up under the night sky, evening visits to Kameido Tenjin's Wisteria Festival are no less lively than during the day, but the softly lit flowers add a little extra romance to the scenery. Day and night alike, the shrine is also just a short distance from Tokyo Skytree, which means visitors can not only get a great view of the tall tower reaching up behind the wisterias - it's also quite easy to walk (20 min) or take a bus (10 min) between the two must-see destinations and cross both off the list at once! Entrance to the festival is totally free, so don't miss a chance to see it next spring!

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Basic Info
NameKameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神)
Address3-6-1 Kameido, Koto City, Tokyo
Station10 min from Kinshicho Station, 15~20 min from Oshiage/Skytree Stations
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