The Azaleas at Nezu Shrine – Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

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Nezu Shrine (根津神社 or Nezu Jinja) is one of those rare hidden gems, that you would never expect to find in the concrete surroundings of Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo. Within the grounds, you will find several old places of worship, dating back to the early 1700s, plus a gorgeously manicured garden sweeping across the backdrop.

Infamous for its rich purple Azaleas in Spring, they hold a special Azalea Festival (つつじ祭り or Tsutsuji Matsuri) from early April to early May to capture this full beauty during bloom. They contrast radiantly with the many kinds of spectacular white, red and blue multi-layered flower beds which fill up the back of the grounds. It is known as one of Tokyo’s best spring spots to visit.

The Shrines architecture resembles 1700 Shinto structures of that time, especially with the multiple uses of red Torii gates marking various trails to the main places of worship. They also feature a main Torii as the entrance to the sacred area.

The main structure in the middle features both a main 2 storey tower gate, known as a 楼門 (ろうもん or Roumon), while the main hall aka 本殿 (ほんでん or Honden) is an intricately built and crafted Shrine, which includes a main worship or offertory hall.

While entry to the Shrine is free, entrance to the actual Azalea garden during the festival will cost you a measly 200 yen. Access to the shrine from either Nezu station (Chiyoda Line) or Todai-Mae Station (Namboku Line) is a short 8-minute walk from either respectively. You also can find Nezu Shrine on google maps.

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