The ume-chigiri ceremony, which involves collecting fruit from the legendary tobi-ume (flying plum tree), took place at Dazaifu Tenmangu on June 1. Shinto priests and miko (shrine maidens) used bamboo rods to pick the fruit one by one. Although down on last year’s number, they still managed to collect 135 plums. The gathering of plums from trees at the rest of the grounds lasts for about a week. The seeds, which are said to represent the soul of Sugawara Michizane, were made into charms and sold for up to ¥100,000 each. Source: Dazaifu website
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