Enjoy the interesting architecture of this historical shrine dedicated to the Deity of wisdom
Established in the year 947, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine enshrines Sugawara Michizane who was a scholar, a writer, and a politician in the beginning of Heian era (lived from 845 to 903). It is the headquarters of more than 12,000 Tenmangu shrines dedicated to Sugawara Michizane’s spirit, all over Japan. It is affectionately called “Tenjin san” among local people and believers. Honden, the main shrine, and worship hall called 'Haiden' are designated National Treasures in Japan and students all over Japan frequently visit to offer a fervent prayer for their study as this shrine is known for the deity of wisdom. Therefore, wisdom charms are purchased by many people. As Sugawara Michizane was born in the year of the ox, there are many statues oxen too. It is believed that you will be healed if you touch the part of the ox where you want to recover. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is famous for Ume plum trees, which bloom beautifully around early March.
Honden (the main shrine)
Although you cannot enter Honden, you may be amazed by its solemnness from the outside. Its main deity is Sugawara Kichizane and its architecture is called “Yatsumune-zukuri”. Yatsumune-zukuri means that there are several buildings lined up in a complex manner with gorgeous roofs. Honden and Haiden worshiping halls are connected so that you can look through them. This architecture was very modern at that time and it became a popular type of shrine architecture after that.
On the 25th of each month, there’s an illumination event called “Go-en-nichi,” the day of Tenjin. From the sunset till 9pm, 350 stone lanterns and 250 paper lanterns are lit and make a dreamlike atmosphere. There are food stalls in the streets around the shrine, so we definitely recommend you try some food there!
As the ox of the Chinese zodiac, is known as a minister of Sugawara Michizane, there are many statues of them in the shrine precinct. It is believed that your body will be healed after touching one of the ox statues. Hence, many believers from all around Japan frequently come to rub them and receive this miracle.
Buy Wisdom Charms
As Sugawara Michizane in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is known as a deity of wisdom, it is believed that you will do well in academics if you pray to him. Therefore, students who are going to take entrance exams often come to pray at Kitano Tenmangu and buy wisdom charms. After exams are done, it is a tradition that you return the charm to the shrine and they will burn it in the fire.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
Please do not bring any food that you bought at the vendors at the entrance into the shrine. It is considered rude to eat in the shrine precinct. Please also note that you cannot enter the main Honden shrine.
3.2 experience3.5 access3.0 photogenic3.0
4.0 experience4.5 access3.5 photogenic4.0
United States of America
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine / 北野天満宮
|Category||Temples & Shrines|
|Address||Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto|
|Directions||1 minute walk from Kitano Tenmangu Mae stop on Kyoto City Bus #50 or #101 from Kyoto station|
|Open Hours||5:30am - 5:30pm (October to March) 5:00am - 6:00pm (April to September)|
|Notes||There are many Japanese students on school trips in this shrine as it is a popular destination for school students. It would be crowded on 25th of each month as 'Go-en-nichi' events are held.|
For Hobutsu Den where valuable offerings and objects are stored, it costs ￥300 for adult, ￥250 for high school and junior high school students and ￥150 for children to enter there. It opens from 9am to 4pm
|Credit cards||Not accepted|
Simple English brochures are available at 'Shamu-sho', a shrine office. It is a bit difficult to access Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, but once you get off the bus, you can easily find it.
|Information||English brochures are available at 'Shamu-sho', a shrine office English website is available (please refer the link attached in this page)|
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese only|