I used to work in the Kameido area for 2 years in 2006 and 2007. This beautiful shrine in the eastern suburb of Tokyo is famous for the plum blossoms n February and the beautiful Wisteria creepers which blossom in the month of April (mid to late April). The Kameido area is my idea of a shitamachi-life with small shops around the neighborhood a lot of culture, the Kameido Tenjin Shrine and simple lifestyles.
Fuji (wisteria) Flower Festival. There are over 100 wisteria roots in the precincts of the shrine, and I went after a long time to catch a glimpse of the beautiful flowers.
A sunny morning it was a pleasant day starting off with the visitors trickling to the Kameido Tenjin shrine. The brilliant entrance Torii in red looks striking in the blue sky backdrop. For the record in terms of location,Kameido Tenjin Shrine is a 15-minute walk from the North Exit of Kameido Station on the Sobu Line. Sipping a can of hot coffee me and my wife went in to check the blossoms. Google Map Link Lovely lavender-colored flowers were already in bloom, several bunches which dangled from wisteria trellises and with the red bridge backdrop gives a beautiful ambience. An elderly man walked up to us and informed us that the blossoms were unfortunately at 60% so we kind of went early… Go around April 20-25 the average time when the blossoms are at their optimum peak. Kameido was once a turtle-shaped island, that is where it gets the “kame” or the word for turtle in its name Kameido. The island was was subsumed in sandy landfill during the early 1600s. People who moved to live on the new land found they could only draw fresh water from a well dug over the original turtle shaped island — so they named the area by combining the words for turtle (kame) and water well (ido). Now it is a different point that there are many turtles in the pond… They were enjoying their time in the ponds basking in the sunlight.
Dont expect to find this view on the weekend during the festival. When the wisteria is in bloom, the shrine gets very crowded. The narrow street leading to the shrine gets completely choked. On the weekday, it was beautiful serene neighborhood with not many people around.
So quite some legendary wisteria flowers, Kameido wisteria is part of many famous woodblock prints or Ukiyoe, with the most famous one being Hiroshige’s woodblock print from his series called “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo”. Even the “ema” or the wooden plates where you write wishes on and hang them in the temple have beautiful wisteria flowers printed on them. I really like the bridge and the flower combination for some reason. The old taiko-bashi bridge which was the first arch bridge, was earlier made of wood and now concrete. The beautiful wisteria flowers in the foreground were planted in the Edo period!! Records indicate that Tsunayoshi, the fifth Tokugawa shogun, and Yoshimune, the eighth shogun, visited this shrine to see the beautiful wisteria flowers. That’s quite some history to inspire a visit there…. Beautiful creepers… it is not only the visual candy, but the beautiful flowers have an awesome fragrance…. I also remember having a wisteria flavored ice-cream in Japan a few years back and I really like that fragrance….
Tokyo Skytree in the backdrop is the new addition to this neighborhood…. Blue Sky, Spring green trees… a beautiful morning guaranteed with the wisteria…. On the way back a poster of the Fuji Matsuri (wisteria festival). Walk through the bylanes around the Kameido Station and enjoy the downtown life….. Last view before I sign off on this article…. Skytree and the beautiful creepers..