Hello everyone! My name’s Yumemi, but as a lover of Kyoto shrines, I also go by the name “Shrine Girl.” I created this tour because I wanted to spread the knowledge of how amazing Kyoto’s shrines, especially my personal favorite, Shimogamo Shrine, can be!
While in Kyoto, I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of different shrines around the place, am I right? As well, I’m sure there are those among you who have visited and taken countless photos of both well-known and not so well-known shrines around the city. However, I believe there are still many people out there who don’t know what shrines actually are or what to do at them.
That’s where I, Shrine Girl, come in. For those with little knowledge of shrines, I will take you on a tour of my favorite shrine, Shimogamo Shrine and explain to you some crucial information regarding Japanese shrines!
I do not doubt that once you’ve joined me on this tour, you’ll enjoy every shrine you go to following it even more!
That being said, this isn’t an overly formal tour, so you don’t need to worry or stress about anything when participating.
I've been using this word "Shrine Girl" a lot, but I'm sure there are a lot of you wondering who this Shrine Girl is, or rather, who I am. With that, I'll use this space to introduce myself.
◇ Why the name Shrine Girl?
Basically, I have an interest in Japanese religions, love going to shrines and temples, and am constantly visiting them around Kyoto. The name came about when I decided upon for an Instagram account I started to record all the places I was visiting.
My reasoning for not going with Temple Girl is because I prefer shrines over temples.
◇ Why Kyoto shrines and temples?
It goes without saying that Japan is home to a considerable number of shrines and temples, but Kyoto, in particular, is home to a great number of temples and shrines with storied histories and high statuses. Also, many of those places are closely linked to Japanese history, so for a massive Japanese history buff such as myself, the temples and shrines here are unbeatably fascinating. For example, the temple which houses the grave of Oda Nobunaga, and a shrine dedicated to the world-renowned Japanese daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi, are both right here in Kyoto. I feel that the incredible appeal this city is thanks to the over one thousand years of prosperity it has seen as the center of Japan.
◇ Why Shimogamo Shrine?
One of the reasons for choosing Shimogamo Shrine in particular is its storied history. Firstly, it may be surprising to find out, but there are records which show the shrine was already standing as far back as 90 BCE. In areas around the shrine, such as in the honden main hall and haiden worship hall, you can feel a sense of solemn majesty that surely has come from the shrine's centuries of history.
Also, the grounds of the shrine are continuously wrapped in a solemn, high-status atmosphere as well.
The Shaso (the forest or bush that grows thickly around the main hall and grounds of Shinto shrines), Tadasu no Mori Forest, is a magnificent, deep forest that is believed to date back to Japan's Jomon Period, over 3000 years ago.
Next, we will introduce you to the details of the tour!
◇ The Tour Vibe
As this is a shrine tour (and includes a Kaiseki lunch), you may imagine it will be a little formal. However, the tour itself is, in a good way, quite relaxed and loose.
We strive to make the tour as fun and relaxed as possible and set aside time for taking photos of the beautiful architecture, such as the honden main hall and torii gates, and even sometimes get down to touch the cool water of the river that flows through the shrine.
We also welcome any and all participants; whether it be families or solo travelers.
However, the max capacity of the tour is four, which allows us to always offer a close, intimate experience.
◇ The Tour Plan
Walk Through the Tadasu no Mori Forest
First, we will take a stroll through Tadasu no Mori, Shimogamo Shrine’s beautiful Shaso shrine forest.
This will serve as an opportunity for everyone to enjoy a breath of fresh air and relax a bit as we talk about the history and wonders of the forest.
Explore the Shimogamo Shrine Grounds
After making our way through the forest, we'll then guide you through the shrine grounds. As we admire the splendid architecture of main hall and romon gate, we'll fill everyone in on not only Shimogamo Shrine itself, but the proper way to pray. As we journey through the shrine, we’ll also give you some interesting tidbits about the Shinto religion as well.
Date and Time: Every Thursday at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
※ We're available on any weekday, so if you have a preferred day that you'd like to go, then just let us know.
Participation Fee: ￥1,000
Details and Bookings:
|Yumemi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|