Keihanshin (京阪神) Episode 14: Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社)

Yasaka Shrine is a very famous Shinto Shrine in Kyoto, founded over 1350 years ago. There are over 3000 Yasaka Shrine all over Japan, this one in Kyoto is the “Headquarter”.

It is located near to the Gion (祇園), a famous area of Geisha.

The main gate, called Sairo-mon (西樓門), was said that no spider can ever spin a web on it. And even no raindrops remain on it no matter how strong the rain is.

Standing at the entrance and looking back, is the Shijo Dori Street (四条通), a shopping street and also lead to Gion.

Saw two guys are setting up a ring in front the stage. The ring is called Chinowa (茅の輪), made of cogon grass and placed at the pathway leading to the Shinto Shrine. It is placed at the last day of sixth or seventh month every year. Worshipers at the shrine pass through the ring as an act of purification from misdeeds (tsumi 罪), impurities (kegare 穢れ), or bad luck.

In Japan, businessman will contribute donation to the shrine and get the lantern with their company name label on it. The lantern will be hang on the stage so that their business will be successful.

Unfortunately, I am rushing my time, thus not really have time to explore the inner site. If you happened to visit here, do check out some other attractions such as the Beauty Shrine, or Utsukushi-gozensha (美御前社), which used to be frequent by Geisha. The water trough in front the shrine is said to able to improve your facial complexion!

The Nan-mon (南門), is in fact, the real main entrance.


How to get there: From Kyoto Station, take bus number 100 and alight at Gion bus station.

Hours: 24 hours daily

Admission: Free


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