Thursday, March 8, 2018

Plum Blossoms at Domyoji Tenmangu


Tenjin is the deity of scholarship and has many shrines across Japan. Part of the Tenjin legend involves a special plum tree (acutally "ume" is more similar to an apricot tree, but plum is the popular translation).
This photo journal is from Domyoji Tenmangu near Domyoji station in the town of Fujidera (Osaka prefecture).
Late February to mid-March is a good time to visit the shrine to see the plum blossoms. There is an exhibit of bonsai (plum bonsai / miniature potted plum trees), vendors set up stalls to sell food and plants, there is plum wine for sale, performers put on shows for visitors and there is a special festival during one day.
To see the plum grove behind the shrine you need to pay an entry fee of 300 yen.
For this photo expedition I used a macro lens filter; a Marumi MC +4 (55mm). The lens filter helps magnify the close up shots to get some sharp full frame shots of specific blossoms.

Squeezed orange halves serve as bird feeders.

A stone lantern near the entrance.

These monkey performers appear at many of the smaller shrine festivals during weekdays.
They invite people to share photos on social media.

The ox is the companion animal of Tenjin, so there are many ox statues are Tenjin shrine; this shrine had at least four.
This statue is called a "nade ushi" (rubbing cow).
 If you have some pain, you rub the corresponding part of the ox to take away the pain.
Note the polished parts of the statue where people have been rubbing the statue

A row of plum trees in front of the ox statues.

The large ema plaque for the year of the dog.
The weird baby is holding a plum branch.
The komainu looks extra lean with buggy eyes.

A "hyakku do ishi" stone. People make a hundred laps around this stone for their prayer to be granted.
Some shrines, like Ishikiri, have two stones for people to walk laps.
This stones actually have numerous styles of use (maybe for a later blog post...)

Macro lens gives a nearsighted blur to the background.

Bringing the background into focus, without a macro lens.

The bonbai display.
The plaques display the name of the owner; you will see the same names repeatedly from big bonbai fans.

A stone lantern in the background.

Buds and blossoms.

Many layers going on here.

A stone lantern in the foreground. 

A weeping plum tree with a carpet of falling blossoms.

Ogres among the roof tiles.

The shrine roof in the background of the plum grove.

A pink weeping plum tree among white and red plum blossoms.

Park benches along a trail through the grove.

The backlighting looks good on the petals here.

The peek of a shrine building and red blossoms out of focus behind the foreground's white blossoms.

A red blossom in front of a stone lantern.

A weeping plum tree next to the shrine's main building (honden).

Many colors.

The five petal shape that is iconic of the Tenjin emblem.

A nice shot of some bird tongue.

Lantern with a kaen-houju on top.

The steps to the shrine.
Note the plum blossom emblems for the shrine.
The pink banner is advertising the bonbai event.