Guest post by M A McDonald
Yabo Tenmangū Shrine (谷保天満宮) is a beautiful Shinto shrine, a brief walk from Nambu Line’s Yaho Station. Founded in 903 and rebuilt on its present site (1924), Yabo Tenmangū protects a small sacred forest as well as a picturesque orchard of gnarled but flourishing plum trees (complete with resting platforms), both welcoming on hot summer days.
A small spring and pool are home to koi, crayfish, and turtles. Two large, nonpoisonous snakes also live near the spring, but consider yourself unusually lucky if you catch a glimpse of them — they are rarely seen.
The shrine is also home to a large number of colorful roosters and chickens.
Yabo Tenmangū is dedicated to Tenjin, god of learning, the deified Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar, poet and politician of the Heian Period. It is not surprising to find used ink brushes left here, with hopes for good examination results. In addition to those bringing luck, a variety of amulets as well as omikuji (paper printed fortunes) are for sale.