Attraction Shimogamo Jinja, 59 Shimogamo Izumigawa-cho, Sakyo-ku,Kyoto 606-0807, Kyoto Prefecture Published on: 29-02-2016
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Why Shimogamo Jinja is special ?
Shimogamo-jinja Shrine, also known as Kamomioya-jinja Shrine, is the family shrine of the Kamo clan, who inhabited this area before the transfer of the capital to Kyoto.
One of the oldest shrines in Kyoto, Kamomioya - jinja shrine predates the establishment of Heian-kyo. This shrine is situated in the site of the ancient Tadasu-no-Mori forest, which the ancient Yamashiro Plain remains. The West Main Shrine building and the east main shrine building are National Treasures. Like Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine (Kamigamo Shrine), they typify the nagare-zukuri (flowing style), prevalent throughout Japan. Enshrined here are the deities Kamotaketsunuminomikoto and Tamayorihimenomikoto. The 53 shrine buildings (all Important Cultural Properties), including the Kotosha (which enshrines the patron deity of the sexagenary cycle), are reminiscent of the graceful dynastic culture of Kyoto.
What to explore at Shimogamo Jinja?
Shimogamo-jinja Shrine nestles between the fork of the Kamogawa and Takanogawa rivers and is surrounded by a shady path through an old scenic forest. With the rivers on both sides, and with several small streams flowing through the grounds, Shimogamo is refreshingly cool in summer, and many people stroll there day and night to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and the rich atmosphere of mystical purity.
The grounds of Shimogamo contain beautiful vermillion-colored wooden buildings, curving bridges over the little streams, and several smaller shrines. Shimogamo-jinja Shrine is the sister shrine of Kamigamo-jinja, which lies a few kilometers north, and together the two shrines host an annual Aoi Matsuri, a parade of people in period costume that is one of Kyoto's three big annual festivals and a must-see if you are in the city on May 15th.
How to get to Shimogamo Jinja?
Shimogamo Shrine is a 15 minute walk from Demachi-Yanagi Station on the Keihan Railway Line.
Kyoto City Bus number 4 or No. 205 bound for Kamigamojinja-mae can be taken from the station to Shimogamojinja-mae bus stop (5 minutes, JPY.230) directly beside the shrine.
Kyoto Bus No.204 runs past the north of the shrine. Bus No.102 goes past Demachiyanagi Station
- Another World Cultural Heritage in Kyoto
- A lovely retreat on a hot summers day
- Stays on your mind.
- Big, traditional, but best during a festival
- Beautiful scene and peace!
Shimogamo Jinja, 59 Shimogamo Izumigawa-cho, Sakyo-ku,Kyoto 606-0807, Kyoto Prefecture
Tips for you
I like quiet peaceful place so I give this shrine a five star. You can enjoy the small shrine, not much is offered except the small souvenir shop and tea shop. You can see monks and their routine too. There are lots of old trees and river flows nearby. So dont be shy, give it a try.
Enjoyed the local festival here called "Mitarashi festival" where the locals walk through ice-cold river stream, praying for health during summer... Magical atmosphere! :-)
We visited Shimogamo Shrine on the same day as we did Kamigamo, since they both had festivals and are twin temples. The shrine is situated slightly more down towards the city in a beautiful forest with majestic trees that would make you think it would be an enjoyable place to visit in the summer. There is a torii leading to the temple, flanked by the usual lion statues, and as you enter the sandoo there is a smaller shrine about 100meters down to your left which is dedicated to Kamochoumei no Tadasuno Yashiro. This smaller temple has its own torii and a massive wooden gate leading to the inner temple area. Continuing down the path to the main temple, you will see another torii, then yet another one beyond which is the gate to the outer courtyards of the Honden. Directly in front of the torii is the Maidono. On your right is the temizuya where you purify your hands and mouth (No drinking!), and on you left is the small Aioi-sha shrine and Sasaki tree. This shrine is dedicated to the god of good marriage and the guardian of engagement, Kamumusubi no Kami; a perfectly romantic spot! Further on and left is the sonaemono – a display of gifts of rice and sake to the temple. Going further in to the right you will see a peaceful river with a typical, tradition Japanese bridge spanning its width, decorated on either side by sakura trees. This is undoubtedly an ideal spot to take pictures of in the spring. On the actual main grounds – which you can get to by just going straight from the Maidono – there are many shrines – Shinbukuden, Ooidono Hall, Kawai Shrine, Mikage Shrine, Mitsui Shrine, Izumo Ioheno Shrine, Koto Shrine, Mitarashi Shrine, Hosodono, Reiji-sha Shrine, Aka-no-Miya, and the Adzukariya Shrine. There is also a wedding ground where Shinto weddings can be held – applications for weddings are held outside the temple. If you’re lucky, you just might be able to see a real wedding take place! This whole structure is surrounded by beautiful, tranquil forests where you can just feel yourself soaking in the calm atmosphere. It is definitely worth your visit. There are also many festivals held here in Shimogamo Shrine, and among the most famous is Aoi Matsuri. The Aoi Matsuri, or “Hollyhock Festival,” is one of the three main annual festivals held in Kyoto, Japan. It is a festival of the two Kamo shrines in the north of the city, Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine. The festival may also be referred to as the Kamo Festival. According to the ancient historical record known as the Nihon Shoki, the festival originated during the reign of Emperor Kinmei (r. A.D. 539, 12th month, 5th day – 571, 4th month, 15th day). The ancient records known as the Honchō getsurei and Nenchūgyōji hissho reveal that a succession of disastrous rain and wind had ruined the grain crops, and epidemics had spread through the country. Because diviners placed the cause as owing to the divine punishment of the Kamo deities, the emperor sent his messenger with a retinue to the shrine to conduct various acts to appease the deities, in prayer for a bountiful harvest. These included riding a galloping horse.