The Kitano Tenmangu shrine in Kyoto was built in the 10th century by the Emperor of the time in honor of Sugawara no Michizane. He was a respected scholar and politician. Since he was really intelligent and also a talented poet, he was enshrined as a deity of study, the Tenjin-deity. On the precinct, you can find many figures of oxen. The ox is a messenger of the Tenjin deity, believed to cure an ailing spot on your body if you touch the same spot on the figure of an ox.
Furthermore, if you come here on the 25th you might see the Saru Mawashi monkey show. You can see the show for free. The shrine is also famous for lots of plum blossoms, which bloom from February to March. So if you come here on the 25th of February, you can enjoy the ume-blossom festival, which comes with a geiko (Kyoto geisha) and maiko’s tea ceremony session, the monkey show, and a flea market!
Tenjin-san Flea Market
In Kyoto, there are lots of flea markets that take place here and there throughout the month. The flea market held on the 25th of each month at the Kitano Tenmangu shrine is called Tenjin-san. For those who want to buy second-hand kimono, an obi sash, or other handmade goods or accessories made with kimono fabric, these flea markets are a paradise!
I went to the market on the 25th of September, this time. It was a sunny day and quite hot but I enjoyed looking for a lucky find. I bought some cute accessories for 900 yen each, a handmade shoulder bag made with obi sash fabric for 500 yen, and a scarf made with silk kimono fabric for 800 yen! So next month, I’m planning to go to Toji temple’s flea market for more lucky finds!
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Kitano Tenmangu Access Information
Access: From Kitano-Tenmangu-Mae bus stop
Opening hours: 5 am – 6 pm between April and September, 5.30 am – 5.30 pm between October and March, and 6 am – 9 pm on each 25th of the month. 9 am – 8 pm during the autumn leave season.
Entrance fee: Entry to the shrine grounds is free of charge, entrance to the Treasure Hall is 800 yen for adults and 250-400 yen for kids, and there is an admission fee for the garden during the plum blossom and autumn leave season.