Yushima, Mountain of wishes


Ema, small wooden plaques, common to Japan in which Shinto and Buddhist worshippers write prayers or wishes, are left hanging up at Yushima Tenman-gū shrine. These tablets, forming a mountain graphically resembling Hiroshige’s composition, are displayed at the shrine before their ritual burning, when kami (spirits or gods) are believed to receive them.


The shrine enjoyed great popularity during the Edo period when it was visited by prominent Confucian scholars. The current structures of Yushima Tenman-gū were rebuilt in 1995. They were made using only cypress, and following closely the tradition of Shinto architecture.