Yasaka Shrine | Kyoto Travel Guide
Located in the famous Gion district in Kyoto, the Yasaka shrine stands out for its great beauty and its impressive buildings. Founded more than 1350 years ago, the shrine is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in Japan. In the summer, the shrine is the backdrop for a vibrant festival. Learn more about one of Kyoto’s absolute highlights!
History of Yasaka Shrine
When the capital of Japan moved to Kyoto in ancient times, visits to the Yasaka shrine by the Emperor became more frequent. Because of this, regular citizens also started honoring this sacred place. The Yasaka shrine was part of the list of the most important Shrines in Japan that received government support. Today, the sanctuary is located between the Gion district and the Higashiyama district.
The shrine was formerly known as ‘Gion Sha’ or ‘Kanshin In’. The sanctuary worships the deities Susanoo-no-Mikoto, Kushiinadahime-no-Mikoto, and Yahashira-no-Mikogami.
Its main door is high-rise and red. There are several food stalls and occasionally there are small stalls selling used kimono. Upon entering the shrine grounds, it can be seen that the Haiden buildings (the front of the shrine) and the Honden (main shrine) are united in the same building. In front of the Haiden is a stage full of beautiful lamps with local business names written on them for prosperity. These were put there thanks to a business donation. The hundreds of lanterns light up at night, making for an especially magical night landscape.
The Yasaka Shrine is home to the renowned Gion festival, which takes place every year throughout the month of July. This festival is the most famous in all of Japan because of its beautiful float and traditional dances. There are also classic kimono dating from the Heian Period, gastronomic variety, and an omikoshi (portable shrine) parade.
Cherry Blossom Season
In April, the cherry blossom season reaches the land of the rising sun. Just behind the Yasaka Shrine is Maruyama Park, visited by many due to the beautiful landscape. The park is formed by the combination of the imposition of the Yasaka Shrine with the delicate cherry blossoms, or rather in Japanese, the sakura flowers.
Also, when it is not cherry blossom season, this park can serve as a refuge for those in need of a little silence and observe a simple and relaxing landscape. The Yasaka Shrine is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without an entrance fee. Both day and night, this shrine offers a special experience to those who want to connect with the peace of ancient Kyoto.
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