I’ve been living in Setagaya ward for 3 years, but only found out about this little gem down the road this week. Seriously – it baffles me how much of my area, let alone the whole of Tokyo, I’m still yet to discover. This is one of the reasons I love living in Tokyo – you could never get bored!
Sakura Jingu is a small Shinto shrine that was built in 1882. Every shrine has a different purpose, and this one’s originally was to protect people against sicknesses. Because the shrine escaped damage from the Great Kanto Earthquake and WWII when the rest of the city was flattened, it came to be known as a protector against fire and natural disasters, too.
During spring, the shrine grounds are painted pink as the kawazu-zakura and then somei-yoshino bloom. These beautiful trees gave the shrine its name: sakura jingu (cherry blossom shrine). Usually, visitors write their wishes on plaques called Ema and hang them up in hopes the gods listen. But at Sakura Jingu, they do things a little differently. People write their wishes on pink ribbons and tie them to the sakura trees! They were so well camouflaged I only realised they were there after standing right in front of the tree. Cuteness overload!
Right now, the kawazu-zakura have just passed their peak and green leaves are shooting out in all directions. In a few weeks the somei-yoshino will be in full bloom so we’ll have another chance to see this gorgeous sight!