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.
Koto Shrine
Koto Shrine
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.
Sori Bridge
Sori Bridge
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
3Good Experiences
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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The way the thick-growing trees surround you in Tadasu no Mori, Forest of Correction, makes you think you were inside the Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke. There are many events in Shimogamo Shrine all over the year, from the Mitarashi Festival in summer to Kemari Hajime in January, and the shrine shows you a different face every season.
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Shimogamo Shrine is a mysterious shrine by Demachiyanagi station. Walking in the vast Tadasu no Mori, "Forest of Correction", makes for a refreshing walk. Shimogamo Shrine is said to be the birthplace of Mitarashi dango, so of course there are many places offering delicious dango.
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Overseas Tourist-Friendly
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Van Leeuwen
New Zealand
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New Zealand
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Shimogamo Shrine / 下鴨神社
Category Temples & Shrines
Phone +81 75-781-0010
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.
Reservations No
Closed Open everyday
Notes They have a pamphlet in English at the shrine shop where they also sell things like amulets and goshuincho stamp books.
Price range
Credit cards No
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
There are not that many signs in English at the shrine.
Information Japanese and English
Lanuages spoken Japanese only
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