Shrine in the middle of a sacred grove in the middle of Kyoto
Shimogamo Shrine is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The shrine is surrounded by the forest called Tadasu no Mori, or Forrest of Correction. The forest is really vast considering it is in the middle of Kyoto. The fresh air of the forest is sure to make you feel relaxed. It is said the shrine was founded in the 6th century, making it one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. There are many smaller shrines on the grounds, and at these shrines you can pray for good relationships, happy marriage, or you can pray at an altar dedicated to your Chinese zodiac.
This shrine consists of seven sub-shrines, and this is because this shrine is dedicated to the Japanese god Okuninushi, who is said to have seven names. He also has seven abilities, so these seven sub-shrines each are dedicated to two animals of the Chinese zodiac. If you want to pray at the shrine dedicated for your zodiac sign, it may be a good idea to practice the Japanese character for it beforehand because the signs are only in Japanese.
This bridge over the Mitarashi River is famous for its roundness. In fact it is so round that at the present you can no longer walk on it, but just taking pictures should suffice, as the view of the vermilion bridge is exquisite. Just imagining being a noble in the Heian period, walking on this bridge in my kimono, makes me feel excited and nostalgic at the same time.
Pray for good marriage luck
At this shrine you can pray for good marriage luck, or just pray that you will find a partner. You can buy ema, wooden plaques that you write your wishes on, at this shrine. After writing your wish on the plaque you are supposed to hang it next to the altar with the other emas.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
When lining up to pray at the altars, respect other people’s personal space and give them enough time to pray.
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Shimogamo Shrine / 下鴨神社
|Category||Temples & Shrines|
|Address||59, Shimogamo Izumigawacho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-0807|
|Directions||12-minute walk from Keihan Demachiyanagi Station. [From JR Kyoto Station] From JR Kyoto Station, take the city bus line 205 toward Kitaoji Bus Terminal via Shijo Kawaramachi and get off at Shimogamo Jinja-mae. (the bus ride takes about 30 minutes)|
|Open Hours||6:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.|
|Notes||They have a pamphlet in English at the shrine shop where they also sell things like amulets and goshuincho stamp books.|
There are not that many signs in English at the shrine.
|Information||Japanese and English|
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese only|