First Week-Part 2: Lost Around Tokyo University

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Though the temperature said otherwise, during the end of February Spring was waiting around the corner, that is why

following Ikuko’s suggestion, Ikuko hosted me at the end of my first stay in Tokyo, I headed to Yushima Tenjin. A temple popular among students, particularly those studying at Tokyo’s University (commonly known as Todai), and those aspiring to enter in said university.

Built in the 450 AD, Yushima Tenjin in this temple the deity Ameno-tajikaraono-mikoto is worshiped. In 1478 Ota Dokan transformed the temple to Confucianism attracting many scholars of his time. Among them, the renowned  Michizane Sugawara, admired for his academic achievements. This help the temple gain recognition among students as a place to pray for luck during the exams. Michizane Sugawara soul has been elevated to the position of god, and many students visit him to pray,  particularly during the exams period, and write their wishes on Ema boards hoping their for their prayers to be heard.

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During Spring there is a festival in honor for the plumb tree (ume), and peach tree flowers (momo) that garnish the temple gardens.

I precisely went to enjoy the blooming momo and ume trees. However, my trip was not free of interesting misadventures.

Unsure about the direction I should take once I headed out of the station, I asked the security guard at the gate. Obviously he did not speak any English, and I clearly understood in Japanese that he said I should keep straight and turn left at the corner. Of course the rest of the directions got lost in translation, or I would have  known that I should make a right almost intermediately.  So I turned left , and walk, and walk , and kept walking till I clearly convinced my self beyond any doubt that I would no find any temple in that direction.

But not everything was lost, since my extra 3 km in the wrong direction made cross infrom of Tokyo University and admire the famous Akamon (Red door), as wellas a serioes of small cafes and second hand and antique bookstores.

I entered one of these charming bookstore in search of help. Luckily I found a lovely old lady working there that surprisingly spoke some English. So jumping between Japanese and English and with the help of a map she draw managed to give me the right direction to Yushima Tenjin.

Thank to that lovely lady you can enjoy these beautiful pictures.

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To be continued.


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