Aug. 19, 2020 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
At Heian Jingu Shrine you can see the past glory of Kyoto
Heian Jingu Shrine was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto, formerly known as Heian-kyo. The brilliant green and vermilion colors of the shrine remind us of the past glory of Kyoto, though in a smaller scale. The shrine was built at 5/8 scale of the original. In 1895 Kyoto was in decline, but the people of Kyoto came together and built this great temple mark the greatness of Kyoto to the world. The most famous event at Heian Jingu Shrine has to be the Jidai Matsuri festival that is held every year on 22nd of October, on the anniversary of the founding of Kyoto. Heian Jingu Shrine is the goal of the Jidai Matsuri historic reenactment parade that starts at the Kyoto Imperial Palace. From Heian Jingu Shrine, Nanzen-ji Temple, Eikan-do Temple, and Ginkaku-ji Temple can easily be accessed by foot. Heian Jingu Shrine is a great place to start your tour of Kyoto!
Daikoku-den (the main hall)
Take a wide-angle lens with you when you go to the shrine! Otherwise it is hard to get the entire main hall in one picture. It is said that if you pray at the shrine you will have good marriage-luck. If you want to get married, this is the place to visit!
Higashi Shin’en (East garden)
The Higashi Shin’en garden, or the East garden of the gods is one of the four traditional Japanese gardens surrounding the shrine from all sides. This is hallowed ground here. The garden is so majestic that you feel like you were back in the Heian period. Also of notice is the Taihei-kaku Bridge that was built for the Kyoto World’s fair and was originally in the Kyoto Imperial Palace but was later moved to Heian Jingu Shrine.
Garyu-kyo – Crouching Dragon
There are stepping stones on Naka-Shin’en pond. They are laid out in the shape of a dragon. It is said that the gardener who originally designed this wanted you to feel like you were stepping on the scales of a dragon when you walk these steps. Try taking some photos of your reflection when you walk on these stepping stones.
Join the Jidai Matsuri (festival)
The festival is held on 22nd of October every year. Over two thousand people take part in the historic reenactment parade, wearing Heian period clothes. The festival is a good chance to see traditional crafts and historic clothing. The people who get to wear samurai armor are carefully selected. The armor is heavy but the pride they take in wearing it makes the armor feel light.
- Manner & Tips -
Please do not take any photos and videos at Daikoku-den (the main hall).