Today, February the 25th, was the annual “Baika-sai” Plum Blossom Viewing Festival at Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine (北野天満宮) in Kyoto. The highlite is a Tea Ceremony performed by the geiko and maiko from the nearby Kamishichiken district. Very beautiful kimonos, so gracious too, a privilege to see. Although, to have the whipped green matcha tea and a sweet (wagashi), will set you back 1,500 yen and a waiting line of at least 90 minutes!
The plum festival has been held on the same day every year for about 900 years to mark the death of Michizane. The outdoor tea ceremony dates back to 1952. In that year, a big festival was held to mark the 1,050th anniversary of Michizane's death, based on the historic Kitano Ochakai tea ceremony hosted at the shrine by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
The grounds are filled with Michizane's favourite tree, the red and white ume or plum blossom.
Category:Travel and Places
Keywords:Japan, Kitano Tenman-gū, Kyoto, Plum Blossom Festival, Sugawara no Michizane, Tea ceremony, 北野天満宮, 梅花祭, 菅原道真, 野点大茶湯