Plum Blossom Festival in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, KyotoHospitality with Spring Scent25 February 2016 - Temples/Shrines
"Baika-sai," or plum blossom festival, took place on February 25 at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, to commemorate the virtuous personality of Michizane Sugawara, who loved plum blossoms, on the anniversary of his death. Along with the Shinto ritual, a customary tea party was held. Visitors enjoyed the open-air tea-ceremony while appreciating the plum blossoms at their best.
A Shinto ritual stemming from the Heian period was conducted in the main shrine. Members of "Nanaho Kai," an organization made up of descendants of people who served at Tenmangu, offered on the alter "O-ban" and "Ko-ban" or steamed rice piled up on large and small-sized bowls, and "Kodate," or Japanese paper rolled up into a cylinder and containing brown rice and a small plum twig, covered with red or white blossoms, sticking into it.
In the precincts, a tea ceremony was performed to commemorate "Kitano Dai Sanoe," or Grand Tea Ceremony Party in Kitano held by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period. Visitors and foreign tourists were entertained by "Geiko" and "Maiko," or geisha and apprentice geisha, from the Kamishichiken Kabukai, one of the Kyoto's historic geisha associations. Michiko Kobayashi, a woman from Kita Ward, said, "Geiko and Maiko were gorgeous. It was great that I could enjoy tea in the fair weather. The sweet scent of the plum blossoms floated in the air, just as 'when the east wind blows,'" citing from the famous poem by Michizane.
There are approximately 1,500 plum trees in the precincts. The plum garden will be open until late-March. There is an admission fee.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)