This is Mitsue writing this week. The climate in Japan is warmer than usual, and spring flowers are blooming much earlier this year. 'Sakura'(cherry blossom) will gradually bloom from this weekend, but today I would like to share about 'Ume' (plum blossom). I went to the Domyoji Tenman-gu to see 'Ume' (plum blossom) last month. Tenman-gu (or Tenjin) is a Shinto shrine which enshrines Sugawara no Michizane (845-903). There are about 14,000 Tenman-gu in Japan. The famous ones are the Dazaifu (Fukuoka), Kitano (Kyoto) and Yushima (Tokyo). The domyoji Tenman-gu is is located in Fujiidera city in Osaka, and it is very near from Ichiroya. Sugawara no Michizane had stayed in Domyoji for a while when he was 40 years old, because his aunt had lived there. There is also a Noh stage in Domyoji tenman-gu.
Sugawara no Michizane was a scholar, poet, and politician of the Heian period(794-1192). He was regarded as an excellent poet, particularly in Kanshi poetry, and is today revered in Shinto as the divinity of learning. He loved 'Ume' (plum blossom) so much, so plum trees are planted in most of the Tenman-gu. It is very famous that he wrote a poem when he was demoted to Dazaifu from Kyoto.
"My Ume tree, could you please send your scent on the east wind? Don't forget to bloom in spring even if I'm not here."
We can feel how he loved 'Ume' (plum blossom) from this poem. This is also a famous story that a cow carried his dead body, but stopped and never walk again by all means. So Sugawara no Michizane was berried in Anraku-ji temple near Dazaifu. Cow is regarded as a divine messenger, and enshrined in most of the Tenman-gu. All cows there are sitting down bending their knees.
Here are some photos of Kitano tenman-gu where I visited last summer. The green 'Ume' (plum) fruits were so refreshing. People were dipping water Omikuji (oracle) which came out the fortunetelling words. Wow, interesting!!
This time I will shows you special pieces with 'Ume' (plum blossom) pattern. As for the Obiage, we have other colors, so please check our HP.