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Kamigamo Shrine (Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine)
This is the oldest shrine in Kyoto, with a history of more than 2,600 years since the arrival of its god in the Kamishiro period. The shrine grounds are lined with more than 60 shrines and temples, including two National Treasures and 41 Important Cultural Properties.
In ancient times, Kamowakeikazuchi-no-okami, the god of the shrine, descended to the mountain northwest of the main shrine, and the Kamo clan, a powerful local family, built a shrine building in 678, and it is the oldest shrine in Kyoto. The name of Kamigamo Shrine is a common name, and the official name is Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine, named after the god. The mountain of sand in the precincts is called "tate-zuna," and it resembles a sacred mountain.
Kamowakeikazuchi-no-kami is a god who purges all kinds of misfortune with his power strong enough to separate thunder. After the transfer of the capital to ancient Kyoto, Kamowakeikazuchi-no-kami was deeply worshiped by the imperial family as a god of protection for the imperial castle and a guardian of the devil's gate. The Tokugawa family, whose family crest derived from this shrine’s sacred crest, also reveres the shrine. It was the second most prestigious shrine after the Ise Jingu Shrine. Even today, Kamowakeikazuchi-no-kami is worshipped as a god of protection against bad luck, protection from all directions, protection for electricity, and a god of victory.
Surrounded by rich nature, there are more than 60 Shinto buildings in the vast precincts, two of which are designated as National Treasures and 41 as Important Cultural Properties. In 1994, the entire Shinto precincts were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the "Historical Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.”
The main hall and the Gonden hall, both National Treasures, are of the Sankensha architectural style, and are said to be the prototype of Nagare-zukuri, a now typical style of shrine architecture. In front of the main hall is dedicated a painting of lion guardian dogs called "Kage-koma," which was painted by the Kano school, the largest school in the history of Japanese painting. Both the main hall and the Gonden hall are usually closed to the public, but if you apply for a special visit at the reception desk, you can visit and be guided by a priest. It is a sacred place where you can quietly hang your head and receive the blessings of the gods.
The sand mounds (‘tate-zuna’) in the shape of the mountain where the gods descended.
The main hall, Gonden, is a National Treasure.
The Kamo Festival (Aoi Matsuri), an annual festival held in May.
The rich nature and sacred air of the temple grounds.
- Name in Japanese
- Postal Code
- 339 Kamigamomotoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
- Open every day
- Ninotorii 5:30am-5:00pm, Tower Gate and Awarding Office 8:00am-4:45pm, Special Worship 10:00am-4:00pm (4:30pm on weekends and holidays)
- Free admission to the precincts, special admission 500 yen
(1) From Kitayama Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line, take the city bus and get off at Kamigamo-jinja Mae Stop.
(2) From Kitaoji Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line, take the city bus to Misonoguchi Stop.
- Credit Cards
- Not accepted
- Official Website
- Official Website (English)