April 13, 2014
We ended our walk around Kameido in the Shintoist shrine Kameido Tenjin 亀戸天神. As it is open 24 hours every day, it can be visited at night and you can take great pictures with night illumination and with almost no tourists/visitors spoiling the photo.
The first bridge right after the main torii is the bridge of the woman (Onnabashi 女橋: woman, bridge).
The second bridge, right before arriving to the shrine area is the bridge of the man (Otokobashi 男橋: man, bridge)
We visited it during the blossoming of the plum trees 梅 as you can see in the night photos, but the ideal moment to visit the shrine is during the blossoming of the wisterias (Fujizoku フジ属) in April and May, when the branches and flowers of the wisterias are beautifully reflected on the water of the ponds.
Wisterias are plants that have inhabited the Japanese archipelago for a really long time. They were already an inspiration to the Japanese people of ancient times, as they are mentioned in several poems in the Man’yōshū (5th century A.D.)
“When the wisterias blossom,
the wind turns them into waves.” Man’yōshū (5th century A.D.)
Legend has it that the wisterias in Kameido were planted at the beginning of the Edo era. The rest of the temple has been reconstructed several times but the wisterias are the original ones.
More or less the same spot as 100 years ago, the wisterias were already there but the bridges were made of wood.
Another photo from the beginning of the 20th century of one of the bridges of the shrine.
The beauty of the temple and its wisterias inspired many artists of the Edo era. This is an ukiyo-e of one of the bridges of Kameido Tenjin created by Hiroshige in the mid-19th century.
Comparison of the work of art of Hiroshige and a photo nowadays.
The Hokusai version of the Kameido Tenjin bridges.
Isometric view of the bridge of the woman and the bridge of the man under the snow.
Enjoying a day under the blossomed plum trees of Kameido Tenjin by Hiroshige.
These are not ukiyo-e, they are drawings also from the Edo era that show the atmosphere of Kameido Tenjin. You can also see the wisterias, the temple, the pond and the bridges.
The Kameido Tenjin bridges, the wisterias and the ukiyo-e reminded me of the Green Harmony by Monet.
“The temple bell stops.
But I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers” Matsuo Basho
You can get to the temple by walking 15 minutes to the northwest of Kameido station. In the official website of the shrine you can find the exact location.