Sep. 23, 2018 UPDATE

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

- 北野天満宮 -
Deity of wisdom in historical shrine where you may also enjoy the interesting architecture
Established in 947, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine enshrines Sugawara Michizane who was a scholar, a litterateur, and a politician in the beginning of Heian era (lived from 845 to 903). It is the headquarter of more than 12,000 Tenmangu, shrines dedicated to Sugawara Michizane’s spirit, all over Japan and 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 as a deity of wisdom. Therefore, charms of wisdom are purchased by many people. As Sugawara Michizane was born in the year of the ox, there are many statues of it. It is believed that you would be healed if you touch a part of the ox statue where you want to recover in your body part. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is famous for ume trees, which blooms beautifully around early March.
Honden (the main shrine)
Honden (the main shrine)
Although you cannot enter Honden, you may be amazed by its solemnity. 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 a gorgeous roofs. Honden and Haiden, worship halls, are connected so that you can look through the hall. This architecture was very modern at that time and it became a popular shrine architecture since then.
Kanko Go-en-nichi
Kanko Go-en-nichi
Every 25th of each month, there is 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 they make the visionary atmosphere. There are food vendors in the street around the shrine, so it is recommend that you try some food there!
Touch Ushisha
3Good Experiences
Touch Ushisha
As ox is known as a minister of Sugawara Michizane which is originated in his Chinese zodiac, there are many statues of it in shrine precinct. It is believed that your body would be healed as you touch the statue of Ox. Hence, many believers all around Japan frequently come to touch it to receive the miracle.
4Good Experiences
Buy Charms Of Wisdom
As Sugawara Michizane in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is known as a deity of wisdom, it is believed that you would make a success in academic field if you pray to him. Therefore, students who will take school entrance exams come often to pray and buy charms of wisdom in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. After exams are all done, it is a tradition that you return it to this shrine, and they would burn them in the fire.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
Please do not bring any food that you bought at the vendors at the entrance of the shrine. It is considered rude to eat in the shrine precinct. Please also note that you cannot enter the main shrine called Honden.
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Overseas Tourist-Friendly
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This shrine is famous for worshipping the scholar Sugawara no Michizane as the god of learning, Tenman-Tenjin, and people from all over the world come to worship at this shrine. There are bronze statues of bulls all over the premises, and it is said if you pet one's head that you will become smarter, so I recommend petting one!
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Overseas Tourist-Friendly
United States of America
4.0 experience4.5 access3.5 photogenic4.0
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine / 北野天満宮
Category Temples & Shrines
Phone +81 75-461-0005
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)
Reservations Not accepted
Closed None
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.
Price range
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
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
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

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