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Nezu Shrine in Tokyo Bunkyo ward near Ueno Park is one of Japan’s oldest shrines, and certainly one of i …

Nezu Shrine in Tokyo Bunkyo ward near Ueno Park is one of Japan’s oldest shrines, and certainly one of its most attractive. Nezu Shrine is set in lush greenery, with ponds of carp, pathways that are tunnels of small shrine arches, and elegant, beautifully colored, wooden structures that reflect Japanese culture in all its age and Beauty.

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Believed to have been established more than 1,900 years ago by Yamato Takeru-no Mikoto, Nezu Shrine is a historic shrine which is also known for its 300-year-old beautiful azalea garden. The garden has an area of about 2,000 tsubo (about 6,600 square meters) and features approximately 3,000 azalea plants of 100 species, including rare varieties such as Fuji-tsutsuji (tiny bean-sized flowers), Hanaguruma (pinwheel-like flowers), and Karafun (black azalea). Along with flowers, visitors may also enjoy a plant fair, an antique fair, and many festive stalls. The colors range from white to light pink, orange, purple and glaring red, and it is definitely a must-see if you visit Tokyo around April.

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One of shrine’s three mikoshi (portable shrines), which were dedicated by the sixth Tokugawa Shogun Ienobu and were restored in 2006 on the 300th anniversary of the shrine’s location, will be displayed in public during the festival. At a designated time for special viewing, visitors are also allowed to enter the shrine’s main building (a National Important Cultural Asset) to appreciate its historic architects every year, from around mid-April until the beginning of May, the shrine holds the so-called Tsutsuji Matsuri (Azalea Festival) to celebrate the flowers, which will then be in full bloom. There is a little path that leads right through the azalea bushes, giving you the most spectacular views from all kind of different angles. This is by far the busiest time of the year and you will find a lot of food stalls and some entertainment like taiko drumming or traditional dance, especially during the Weekends.

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However, even if you do not visit during April or May, it is still very much worth going; just stroll around the hilly part and marvel at the neat decorations and fittings of the main shrine building. At a designated time for special viewing, visitors are also allowed to enter the shrine’s main building (a National Important Cultural Asset) to appreciate its historic architecture as well as statues and paintings that are not usually presented to the public. Please check it out!

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Station

Nezu,Todaimae

Open

9AM~5PM