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Sep. 23, 2020 UPDATE
Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine - 錦天満宮 -
Traveler Friendly
They have brochures in English at the shrine and the head priest is an expert on the history of Kyoto. He can tell you in English about it if you are interested and he has time.
Information
Japanese and English
Languages spoken
Japanese, English (not always present), and French
3712 43 7.3 1 reviews
Sep. 23, 2020 UPDATE

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine

- 錦天満宮 -
Traveler Friendly
They have brochures in English at the shrine and the head priest is an expert on the history of Kyoto. He can tell you in English about it if you are interested and he has time.
Information
Japanese and English
Languages spoken
Japanese, English (not always present), and French
3712 43 7.3 1 reviews
Story & Recommendation
Nishiki Tenmangu – A story of separation, urbanization and the little shrine that could
Illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns, the entrance to the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine stands in striking contrast to its surroundings of the Shinkyogoku shopping street.
While this may seem like an odd place for a shrine, Nishiki Tenmangu’s roots date back over one thousand years.
In the year 1003, a temple called Kanki-ji was founded together with a shrine dedicated to the god of learning, Sugawara no Michizane, to protect it.
The temple and shrine were moved to the center of Kyoto as a part of the reconstruction of Kyoto by the daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi. However, while the temple was moved to Higashiyama during the Meiji era because of shinbutsu bunri – the separation of Shintoism and Buddhism – the shrine remained.
Separated from the temple which it was built to protect, that which remained standing was the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine.
Despite the urbanization of Kyoto’s city center, the little shrine withstood the test of time and became a popular destination for people praying for luck in their studies.
1Highlight
The Main Hall
The Main Hall
The main hall of the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine enshrines the god of learning, Sugawara-no Michizane. Sugawara-no Michizane was an historic figure who before being deified was known for becoming the highest ranked scholar of his time. Thanks to his academic achievements, the shrines which enshrine him are now visited by crowds of people every day wishing to improve their success in study. The shrines are also said to provide luck in business as well. Next to the hall, you’ll find a large glass box. Inside is a robot dressed as a Japanese shishi-mai lion which performs a “lion dance” and picks you out a fortune slip with its teeth when you give it money. The shrine even offers two types of fortune slips in English!
2Highlight
Torii Gate
Torii Gate
This is the main torii gate of the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine located between the Shinkyogoku and Teramachi shopping streets. Take a close look at the ends of the gate – both sides are actually embedded in the buildings! This path was established around 1935 as the entrance to the shrine. However, some of the surrounding premises were sold and buildings were constructed. If you climb to the second story of the stores on either side, you’ll actually be able to see the torii gate poking through the wall!
3Good Experiences
Drink Nishiki Water
Drink Nishiki Water
Nishiki Tenmangu is famous for its great water and you can try a sip of it yourself! The water quality at the shrine is so good that it’s said Nishiki Market was built close to here because of it. Sometimes you’ll even see locals pouring the water into their water bottles.
4Good Experiences
Get a Unique Wooden Amulet
Get a Unique Wooden Amulet
Shaped like small Japanese plums, these unique wooden amulets are called Daigan-ume. It’s said that Sugawara no Michizane loved plums and that’s why the amulets are shaped like them. You can write your wishes on the paper inside the plum, place it back inside and then hang it from the branches of a plum tree inside the shrine. Of course, you can always take it home with you too.
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