Look at how pink the cherry blossoms are!
My friend and I were walking around Kuramae and stumbled upon this shrine. Kuramae Shrine (藏前神社) is surrounded by high rise buildings and isn’t a large shrine at all. But the grounds are beautifully kept and in the spring these blooms take it up a notch. So lucky to have passed by when they were in full bloom!
Locals in this neighborhood call the soft pink cherry blossoms “Kuramae-zakura (蔵前桜).” I’m pretty sure it’s just a certain type of yamazakura but I like to think that it is so beloved in the community that people just gave it a name. I mean, why else would they do that, right?
We were actually not the only ones blown away by the gorgeous burst of pink. There was a dog standing just under the bright pink cherry blossoms, pretty much the very best hanami spot ever. He just happens to be a bronze statue so he won’t be sharing that spot anytime soon. Ha.
Apparently there is a popular Rakugo story called Moto-inu (translated “former dog”) about a dog that wished to become a human so fervently that one day, he did! If you’ve seen The Little Mermaid, you’ll know it’s not that easy to suddenly become a human. I read the Japanese transcript and can tell you the story had me chuckling. You can learn all about the dog and Kuramae Shrine here on Ru’s blog. She is my go-to gal for all things temples and shrines!
Anyways, the dog is only a statue but when you step onto the Kuramae shrine grounds, a very friendly cat is there to welcome you. Well, more like welcome you to scratch his tummy…but still a welcome. I’ve never seen such a straigh-forward friendly cat like this one before. He came at us like he was thinking, “well it’s about time!” He acted more like a dog than a cat.
Makes you wonder if the Moto-inu decided to pray to become a cat, too? 😉