There are several famous shrines throughout Tokyo, among them is the Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine (Yushima Shrine, Yushima Tenjin) which is said to have been blessed by academic gods, it is a precious shrine that is loved by the locals of the area. The shrine is easily accessed from Ueno, therefore many tourist visit here throughout the year. Today, we are going to touch on the history and culture of Yushima Tenman-gu.

「What is "Yushima Tenman-gu"?

The shrine is said to have been built in 458AD during the Edo period, it was also drawn on an Ukiyo-e (a form of Japanese art) by famous Japanese painter, Utagawa Hiroshige.

One of the famous characteristics of Yushima Tenman-gu is that the shrine incases the great Japanese man, Sugawara no Michizane, who had brilliant skills as a scholar and politician.

Sugawara no Michizane is worshiped as "God of Scholar" in Japan. Therefore, there are a lot of people who wish to pass an exam or qualification exam who visit the shrine. The shrine is always full with Ema (votive picture) with wishes written on it.

A famous spot of "Yushima Tenman-gu"

“Otokozaka” (男坂)
“onnazaka” (女坂)

Yushima Tenman-gu is located on sloped terrain. There are two slopes on the paths from Yushima station to Yushima Tenman-gu and they are called "Otokozaka", meaning Man’s Slope, and "On’nazaka" meaning Woman’s Slope. You can take either path to get to Yushima Tenman-gu, but the angle of the slopes are different. “Otokozaka” has the slope with a total of 38 stone steps, which are very steep. On the other hand, “On’nazaka” has a slope with a total of 33 stone steps, which is not as steep.

There are some scattered attraction spots, such as "Nadeushi" which is said to bring good changes and good fortune when you touch your diseased body part to the statue. Another is "Ki’enhyojinseki", which is used as a guide to help find a lost child.

The surroundings of Yushima Tenman-gu also have a pleasant feeling, and its good for you to just walk around and feel the nice atmosphere of the area.

Another thing to mention about Yushima Tenman-gu is that you definitely cannot miss "Yushima Tenjin Kiku Matsuri"

In November every year, "Yushima Tenjin Kiku Matsuri" is held at Yushima Tenman-gu. Chrysanthemums, which are the symbolic flower of autumn in Japan, are placed everywhere to decorate the shrine.

The masterpiece of the festival is “Kengai”, the chrysanthemum flower bed, which is made to hang down from the cliff.

During the festival season, you can also see monkey's acrobatics.

If you are in Japan during this festive period, please stop by to enjoy the colorful blooming chrysanthemums and to also enjoy the Japanese festive atmosphere!


Facility name: Yushima Tenmangu (Yushima Shrine / Yushima Tenjin)

  • Fixed Holiday: No fixed holiday
  • Address: 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
  • Nearest station:
  • 3 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, "Yushima station" 3rd exit
  • 5 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line "Ueno Hirokoji station” A4 exit
  • 10 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line "Hongo Sanchome station”
  • 8 minutes on foot from JR Yamanote Line / Keihin Tohoku Line "Okachimachi station" North entrance
  • 5 minutes on foot from Toei Subway Oedo Line "Ueno Okachimachi Station” A4 exit
  • 2 minutes on foot from Bus Miyako 02 or Top 69 "Yushima 3-chome bus stop”