Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

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Domo arigato.
  • Romon Gate Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Romon Gate Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Romon Gate Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Romon Gate Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Ichi-no-Torii Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Ichi-no-Torii Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Maidono Hall (Sacred Dance Hall) Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Maidono Hall (Sacred Dance Hall) Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Shinbuku-den (Clothing Hall) Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Shinbuku-den (Clothing Hall) Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Map of Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Map of Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Sazare-Ishi Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto<

    Sazare-Ishi Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Mitsui-Jinja Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Mitsui-Jinja Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Kotosha Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Kotosha Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Kotosha Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Kotosha Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Hashi-dono (left) Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Hashi-dono (left) Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

  • Ema Year Of Monkey Shimogamo Shrine

    Ema Year Of Monkey Shimogamo Shrine

  • Wooden Arm Shimogamo Shrine

    Wooden Arm Shimogamo Shrine

  • Oshira Ishi for Shikinen Sengu Ceremony

    Oshira Ishi for Shikinen Sengu Ceremony

  • Torii Shikinen Sengu Ceremony

    Torii Shikinen Sengu Ceremony

  • Purification Basin (Chozuya) Shimogamo Shrine

  • Rice Donations Shimogamo Shrine

    Rice Donations Shimogamo Shrine

  • Ai-oi Shrine (God Of Marriage) Part of Shimogamo Shrine

    Ai-oi Shrine (God Of Marriage) Part of Shimogamo Shrine

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Facts & Figures

Shimogamo Shrine, also called Kamomioya-jinja, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and most important Shinto Shrines in Japan. Shimogamo (lit. Lower Kamo Shrine) belongs to the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and is part of the Kamo Shrines including its sister shrine Kamigamo-jinja (lit. Upper Kamo Shrine). Best Ryokans in Kyoto Explore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
Shimogamo is located within the ancient Tadasu-no-Mori forest. You should visit this place during the Aoi Festival in May, when huge processions are held between these sacred places. The East Main Hall (Higashi Honden) and West Main Hall (Nishi Honden) of the shrine are designated National Treasures and 53 shrine buildings considered to be important cultural properties.

  • Shimogamo Shrine:
  • Opening Hours - 5:30 am to 6:00 pm (during summer-time)
  • Opening Hours - 6:30 am to 5:00 pm (during winter-time)
  • Closed - always open, whole year
  • Admission Fee - free

My tips for local activities

Explore the best parts of my favourite city Kyoto with a local guide. The tour takes approximately 3,5hrs. Check out this page for more details.

History

Shimogamo Shrine (Shimogamo-jinja) is dating back to the 6th century. The gods enshrined here are Tamayorihime no Mikoto and Kamotaketsunomi no Mikoto. After 794 when Kyoto was designated as the capital of Japan the shrines (Shimogamo and Kamigamo) were seen as the guardian deities of the capital by the Heian Imperial court. From 1871 - 1946 Shimogamo had the 1st rank status of a government supported shrine called Kanpei-taisha (Imperial shrine).

Location

Map of Japan

Shimogamo Shrine is located within the Sakyo district in Kyoto at the junction of the Kamo and Takano rivers.
Address: 59 Shimogamo Izumigawa-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

How to get to Shimogamo Shrine?

  • 10min walk from Demachi-Yanagi Station served by Keihan Line
  • 30min from Kyoto St. to Shimogamo-jinja mae bus stop by Kyoto City Bus 4 and 205

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Main Hall (Honden) - The Main Hall was built in 1629. The architectural style with their long roofs is called Sangensha Nagare-zukuri. The construction style is a common sight for shrines everywhere in Japan.

Two Large Halls - The East and West Halls (Higashi-Honden and Nishi-Honden) of the main shrine building are considered as National Treasures. The deity Tamayorihime no Mikoto is enshrined in the East Hall and deity Kamotaketsunomi no Mikoto in the West Hall.

Romon Gate - The vermillion coloured wooden torii (gate) is an impressive sight and marks the entrance of the shrine complex. The gate has the status of a National Treasure.

Koto Shrines - These seven small subshrines are Important Cultural Properties and represent each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs (dragon, monkey, cow, boar, rabbit, cock, sea horse, sheep, tiger, dog, horse, rat). People also come here to pray for good fortune and success in business. The shrines are dedicated to the deity Okuninushi-no-mikoto (god of national affairs).

Tama-hashi Bridge - The small bridge spans over the Mitarashi River. Tama-hashi is famous for its round curved shape.

Tadasu no Mori (Forest of Correction) - This ancient forest with over 40 species, some of them over 600 years old, is the perfect spot for a relaxing and refreshing stroll leading up to the main hall of the Shimogamo Shrine. Tadasu no Mori covers an area of over 120000 square meters and has the status of a national historic site.

Mitarashi Shrine (Mitarashi-sha) - The shrine is located above a stream and is dedicated to the god (deity) of purification and clean water.

Kawai Shrine (Kawai-jinja) - This shrine is very popular for woman. They pray here for beauty and good looks. Mirror shaped wooden plates called kagami-ema are used to paint their ideal face on it and hang it on a rack. The shrine is dedicated to the deity Tamayorihime-no-mikoto.

Mai-dono (Sacred Dance Hall) - The current structure with it’s many golden lanterns (called tsuri-doro) was built in 1628. You can see here dance performances during a matsuri (festival) and shrine ceremonies.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

April

Miyako Odori (1st - 31th)
The traditional annual spring dance of the Kyoto district Gion Kobu performed by Geiko and Maiko is a must-see on your Kyoto visit. Don't miss the most popular dances the Miyako Odori "Cherry Blossom Dances" or "Dances of the Old Capital" at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (located close to Gion Corner).

May

Yabusame-Shinji (Horseback Archery) (3rd)
During the spectacular festival, archers on horseback ride through the Tadasu-no-Mori forest and shoot at special targets. If they hit their target it is said that the harvest of crops will be successful in that year and all your wishes come true.

Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade starting at 10:30 am from the Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine and ends at the Kamigamo Shrine (Kamigamo Jinja). More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto. read more

Arashiyama Mifune Matsuri (third Sunday of May)
The first part is held at the Kuramazaki Shrine. Later a procession is leading to the Oi River, where more ceremonies and traditional dances (Funa Asobi) are held. The Arashiyama Mifune Matsuri started in 1914.

July

Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July). read more

Mitarashi Festival at Shimogamo (29th - 2nd)
It is the hottest time of the year and many people come here to walk through the clear and cold water and at the same time pray for health (especially for the legs and feet) and to be relieved from the heat. The festival starts at 9 am till 9 pm.

October

Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

My 100 Best Moments in Japan

Train ride from Osaka to Kyoto

I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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