- 2A short history of Yasaka shrine
- 2.1The metamorphosis
- 2.2Why was a Shinto shrine a Buddhist temple?
- 2.3The foundation of Gion Kanshin-in temple
- 3The annual events at Yasaka shrine
- 3.1January 1st, Okera sai 白朮祭
- 3.2January 1st, Hatsu mode 初詣
- 3.3January 3rd, Japanese card game dedication かるた始め式
- 3.4January 9th, Ebessan boat on maiden voyage of the year 蛭子船巡行
- 3.4.1February 3rd, Setsubun 節分祭
- 3.4.2February 11th, Kigensai 紀元祭
- 3.4.3March, Higashiyama hana toro 東山花灯路
- 220.127.116.11Yasaka shrine
- 18.104.22.168Kiyomizu dera
- 3.4.4May 5th, Tango sai 端午祭
- 3.4.5June 15th, Rei sai 例祭
- 3.4.6June 31st, Oharae shiki 大祓式
- 3.4.7July, Gion matsuri, 祇園祭
- 3.4.8July 7th Tanabata, 七夕祭
- 3.4.9Mid October, Gion sha Kangetsu sai 祇園社観月祭
- 3.4.10November 23th, Niiname sai 新嘗祭
- 3.4.11November 28th, Sanka shiki
- 3.4.12November 28th, Oharae shiki 大祓式
- 3.4.13November 31st, Jyoya sai 除夜祭
- 4The four seasons at Yasaka shrine
- 4.1Spring 春
- 4.1.1Cherry blossom 桜
- 4.1.2Japnese green maple 青紅葉
- 4.2Summer 夏
- 4.3Fall 秋
- 4.4Winter 冬
- 5When can we visit Yasaka shrine?
- 5.1 Early in the morning
- 5.2 At Night
- 6How to visit Yasaka shrine?
- 6.1The entrance
- 6.3Main hall
- 6.3.1Time to pray. FESTINA LENTE
- 7The Deities and blessings they offer to you
- 7.1The main hall
- 7.1.1Susanoo no mikoto 素戔嗚尊 中御座
- 7.1.2Kushinada hime 櫛稲田姫命 東御座
- 7.1.3Yahasira no miko gami 八柱御子神 西御座
- 22.214.171.124Yajimanumi no kami 八島篠見神
- 126.96.36.199Isotakeru no kami 五十猛神
- 188.8.131.52Ohyahime no kami 大屋比売神
- 184.108.40.206Tsumatsu hime no kami 抓津比売神
- 220.127.116.11Oh toshi no kami 大年神
- 7.1.4Ukano mitama no kami 宇迦之御魂神
- 18.104.22.168Ohyabiko no kami 大屋毘古神
- 22.214.171.124Suseribime no mikoto 須勢理毘売命
- 7.2The sub-shrines
- 126.96.36.199Eki jinjya 疫神社
- 188.8.131.52Akuoji sya 悪王子社
- 184.108.40.206Dai Jingu sya 大神宮社
- 220.127.116.11Kitamuki ebisu sya 北向蛭子社
- 18.104.22.168Utsukushi Gozen sya 美御前社
- 22.214.171.124Ohokuni nushi sya 大国主社
- 126.96.36.199Ohta sya 太田社
- 188.8.131.52Tamamitsu Inari 玉光稲荷社
- 7.2.3Itsukushima sya 厳島社
- 184.108.40.206Ohtose sya 大年社
- 220.127.116.11Shinme sya 神馬社
- 18.104.22.168Sorei sya 祖霊社
- 22.214.171.124Hamono jinjya 刃物神社
- 126.96.36.199Hiyoshi sya 日吉社
- 188.8.131.52Gosya 五社
- 184.108.40.206Jisya 十社
- 8Seven wonders of Yasaka shrine 八坂神社の七不思議
- 8.1West gate 西楼門
- 8.2Ryuketsu 龍穴
- 8.3Gion shin sui and biyosui 祇園神水（力水）と美容水
- 8.4Ryu boe 龍吼
- 8.5Futami iwa 二見岩
- 8.6Yonaki ishi 夜哭岩
- 8.7Tadamori toro 忠盛燈籠
- 9Amulets, Gosyuin, and others 八坂神社のお守り、授与品、御朱印など
- 9.2Gosyuin stamp 御朱印
- 9.3Ema 絵馬
- 9.4Netsuke 根付
- 9.5Omikuji fortune telling おみくじ
- 9.6Syamusyo 社務所
- 10Access to Yasaka shrine 八坂神社へのアクセス
- 10.1Kyoto City Bus
- 10.2Keihan railways and Hankyu railways
- 10.3The recommended way
- 10.3.2On the vermilion line
- 10.3.3On the green line
- 11About Yaska shrine 八坂神社基本情報
Yasaka shrine is one of the most popular site in Kyoto. Its incredible vista and historical inheritance lure many tourists away from all around the world. It holds so-called one of “The three great festivals in Japan”, or Gion matsuri festival. In addition to it, many rituals take place there all through the year. In this article, I’ll show you the way to enjoy Yasaka shrine completely.
A short history of Yasaka shrine
A Shinto shrine called Yasaka shrine used to be a Buddhist temple formerly known as Gion Kanjinin (祇園感神院). Gion district was named after the name of it. Take a look at the picture below.That is a small reservoir called “Chozuya” near the west gate of Yasaka shrine. You can see engraved kanji letters.They read “Kanjinin(感神院)”. It transformed itself into a shinto shrine from a Buddhist temple.
Why was a Shinto shrine a Buddhist temple?
The Shinto is a religion indigenous to Japan. Its history dates back to at least the 4th century B.C.. In the earlier days, it was respect and fear for the nature and natural phenomena like mountain or lightning, and so on. With the introduction of rice cultivation in the middle of the 5th century B.C., the Shinto became an appreciation for the nature which gives us rich harvest. In Shinto, we find thousands of Deities in the nature which provides us fertility.
In the 6th century D.C., the Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Since then, the Shinto and Buddhism had fused and coexisted for centuries. The fusion and coexistence is unique. “Kami (神 Deity of the Shinto) and “hotoke (仏 Deity of the Buddhism) was considered as the same Deity. In 1986, both religion separated in terms of law. Meiji government gave an order. Shrines and temples was in need to decided the way to take; to be remain as Sninto shrine or Buddhist temple.
Yasaka shrine once enshrined Susanoo-no-mikoto(素戔嗚尊 Kami of Shinto) and Gozu-tenno (牛頭天王 Deity of the Buddhism) as the same Deity. In 1986, Yasaka shrine decided to be a Shinto shrine. Now it enshrines Susanoo-no-mikoto and other Shinto Deities.
I believe the fusion is hard to understand though we Japanese people take them as they are. Actually, the idea is nothing wrong with us and quite natural. One of the reason why the idea is not strange to us is that we don’t see things in terms of Dualism.
The foundation of Gion Kanshin-in temple
As is often the case with Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in ancient Japan, we can not tell when Gion kanshin in temple was founded. The official documents of Yasaka shrine tells that the envoy of the ancient Chiniese or Korean envoy enshrined Gozu tenno, the Buddhist Deity in 667 D.C. and belonged to Kofukuji temple in Nara.
Gozu-tenno is a Buddhist Deity who saves Jetavana-vihara, the famous Buddhist monastery in ancient India. In Japanese, Jetavana-vihara is pronounced “Gion shojya.” The Gion district is named after the Gion kanshin in and it means the place near the temple which enshrines the Buddhist Deity who saves Jetavana. Even today, sometime Yasaka shrine is called “Gion san” with respect and affection.
In 869 D.C., “Gion goryo e”, the origin of Gion matsuri was held because Gozu tenno was the Deity who save people from maladies. (As we discuss later, Gion matsuri was held for the purpose of getting rid of madies.)
In the 11th century, Gion kanshin in became one of the Niju-nisya temples. Niju-nisya temples are in charge of the security of the country. In case of crisis and natural disaster happened, the Imperial court asked them to pray for peace.
At first, Gion Kanshin in belonged to Kofukuji. In the 14th century, it belonged to Hieizan Enryakuji temple. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the Shogun of the Ashikaga Shogunate and the founder of Kinkakuji temple, separeted Gion Kanshinin from Hieizan Enryakuji temple.
In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyosi held a rite for his mother and Tokugawa Ieyasu make donations in 17th century. These facts reveal that Gion Kanshin in was very important and prosperous temple.
In the 20th century, Gion Kanshin in became a Shitno shrine as I indicated before.
The annual events at Yasaka shrine
January 1st, Okera sai 白朮祭
Prior to the ritual, on December 18th, priests make fire with stick and sawdust. The fire preserved in a lantern as a charcoal. The lantern looks like these. The priests keep it in the main hall for a year.
At Gion matsuri, with this fire, priests light the torches to purify the way portable shrines take.
The fire is also used in Okera mairi on Nov. 31st. (We discuss about it later.)
At 5 a.m. in Jan. 1st, priests out the fire on pieces of sharpened wood an let them fly away; the fire takes away anything evil of the beginning of the year.
January 1st, Hatsu mode 初詣
On Jan. 1st, Japanses people visits shrines to pray for their prosperity and safety all around the archipelago. Yasaka shrine expects around 1 milion visitors.
Usually, we can visit the shrine any time we want, but the entrance is closed about 11 p.m. on Nov. 31st. The entrance is opened again about 12 a.m.. If you want to be in the field of the shrine on the very moment the year changes, you are in need to be there before the entrance is closed.
You are lucky enough to be there, we have lots of visitors and don’t have plenty of time to pray. For pray in silence, visit there after 4 p.m.
January 3rd, Japanese card game dedication かるた始め式
Susanoo no mikoto, the Deity enshrined in Yasaka shrine, composed Waka, the traditional Japanese poem for the first time in Japanese history. People who loves Hyakunin isyu, the card game on Waka, dedicates the game to him.
January 9th, Ebessan boat on maiden voyage of the year 蛭子船巡行
Ebessan (Ebisu san in Kansai dialect), the Deity enshrined in Kiatmuki ebisusya in Yasaka shrine is on board on his boat with Shichi Fukujin Deities and voyages through Shijo street.
Ebessan is a Deity of prosperity and adored especially by merchants.
On the day he is on Ebessab boat lead by Fukumusume ladies.
Fukumusume ladies give proprietors Fukuzasa, the bamboo leaves promises Ebessan’s help.
February 3rd, Setsubun 節分祭
People in the ancient times thought the end of the each season they saw the evil spirits that caused maladies. For the purpose of putting them down, they held rituals. Setsubun is one of them. At yasaka shrine, Maikos dedicate dance to the Deities of Yasaka shirne and make Mamemaki. In Mamemaki, they throw away soy beans that can get rid of evil spirits. If you want to know Sestsubun, see the link below.
February 11th, Kigensai 紀元祭
The day is the national foundation day. In Japanese mythology, we have 2679 years of history. Almost all Shinto shrines holds Kigansai. If you are interested in Kigensai, enjoy the Kigensai held at Kamigamo shrine.
March, Higashiyama hana toro 東山花灯路
In every March, lots of events take place around Yasaka shrine. I’ll show you some of them.
At Yasaka shrine, Miko and Geiko dedicates dance to the Deities. Maiko and Geiko are highly trainded traditional entertainers specialized in dance and music. Maiko is an apprentice of Geiko.
At Kodaiji temple, we have amazing projection mapping every year.
The most popular event is a wedding ceremony of the Fox bride.
In front of Kiyomizu dera, childern performs traditinal game.
May 5th, Tango sai 端午祭
In Tango sai, we pray for the helth of children. We raise Koi nobori, the carpe-shaped stream. In ancient Chinese anecdote, it is believed a carpe borne against the current and rose up the waterfall to become a dragon. In our society, dragon stands for the strength to conquer austerity.
June 15th, Rei sai 例祭
We have dedication of Azuma Asobi dance. The video is the performance at Mikage matsuri on April. Mikage matsuri is a ritual held prior to Aoi matsuri fesitival.
June 31st, Oharae shiki 大祓式
In six month, we have Kegare in side of us. Kegare is an anaemic state of mind. To bring back vitality to prepare for the rest of the year, we pass through Chinowa, the wreath-like object in the photo, and get rid of it.
Let us do Chinowa kuguri (Passing through Chinowa) virtually.
July, Gion matsuri, 祇園祭
The most popular festival in Kyoto. Its history dates back to the 9th century. The most famous ritual is Yamaboko pareade but the most important is Mikoshi togyo.
The aim of Gion matsuri is to put down evil spitits causing maladies with the help of the Deities of Yasaka shrine; Yamabokos march around Kyoto city to gather the evil spitits and the Deities brought on portable shrine extreminate them.
Its a long story see the video and the article.
July 7th Tanabata, 七夕祭
We write down our wishes on a small card and put it to bamboo.
Mid October, Gion sha Kangetsu sai 祇園社観月祭
We admire the full moon in October. It is called Tsukimi, or the moon viewing, the tradition dates back to the party held in the imperial court 8th century.
We have many Tsukimi around the archpelago and that of Yasaka shrine carries on in solomn and family atomosphere. People dedicate traditional music and dance. It is not popular ritual and we can experience the Kyoto not for tourists.
November 23th, Niiname sai 新嘗祭
We thank Shinto Deities for rich harvest, especially that of rice, and pray for the fertility and prosperity of the next year. It reminds us of the close relationship between the Shinto and rice cropping.
November 28th, Sanka shiki
As I indicated before, priests make fire for Okera sai. It is not open to public.
November 28th, Oharae shiki 大祓式
The aime is the same as Oharae shiki held in June. There is no Chinowa on November.
November 31st, Jyoya sai 除夜祭
The last ritual of the year. The Okera bi (The first photo) was lit by the fire made 3 days ago. We lit a rope with Okera bi and Keep it burning by the entrance of our home. We make food for the new year with the fire. The rope has a power to prevent fire accident from us.
The four seasons at Yasaka shrine
Cherry blossom 桜
Yasaka shrine has cherry blossom trees. In Maruyama park adjacent to Yasaka shrine, we can find huge weeping cherry blossom tree.
Japnese green maple 青紅葉
At the begging of May, we have many beautiful green maples called Ao momiji.
From late July, the twilight sky is getting red.The first photo is taken in July and the second one is in September.
Though Yasaka shrine is not the famous cite for Autumn leaves as Eikando temple, it has fantastic colors.
Every year in January or February, we have a couple of snowing days. We can experience the most beautiful Kyoto!
When can we visit Yasaka shrine?
Early in the morning
The air of Yasaka Shrine in the early morning is very sacred and serene. It is a perfect time to pray. We, Japanese people, believe that the best time to pray is morning.
At winter time when it snows, shrine takes our breath away.If it snowed during your stay, you better go to shrine.
Yasaka shrine at night might be the most stunning moment you have in Kyoto. Yasaka shrine opens 24 hours with security guards though other shrines close at late afternoon.
Let us be there on the video. The footage was taken in the period of Gion matsruri and you can see portable shrines.
How to visit Yasaka shrine?
In this section, I show you how to pay a visit to Shinto shrine. It is a way Japanese people to take usually. If you do not want to take the way for some reason, you enjoy shrine as you do other landmarks.
Have you seen the red gate in the picture above? I believe you see it in guide books and websites. This is a de facto main entrance. The building in red and white is called Romon (楼門), a building works as gate. It faces the Shijo street, the approach of Yaska shrine. So, many people think this as a main gate.
This torii is the main entrance located in the southern part of the shrine.
The boy in the picture above is “Kuzekomagata-chigo (久世駒形稚児)”. He enters the shrine by way of south gate.He is the most important figure in Gion matsuri festival.He has an horse head in the breast.It is “Goshintai (御神体)” which the soul of Susanoo-no-mikoto descend to.With the Goshintai, he is considered as the Kami himself.He has a privilege to enter the field of the shrine on his steed even though members of the royal family have to get off a horse.He reveals the south gate is a main gate.
When we pass through Torii gate, we vow slightly.After passing of Torii gate, we pass through Romon gate covered with white tarpaulin.The Romon gate is under the construction.At Romon, we also bow slightly.We always bow every time pass through torii and Romon gate.
We purify our body and soul before we face Shito Deity. After passing of the Romon gate, turn left.You can find “Chozuya.”
Chozuya is a small reservoir.You find woodden ladles there.
1.) Bow slightly in front of Chozuya.
2.) Take one of ladles with right hand.
3.) Scoop up water in reservoir.
4.) Put water on left hand.
5.) Take the ladle with left hand.
6.) Put water on right hand.
7.) Take the ladle with right hand again.
8.) Make left hand shaped like ladle to keep water in palm.
9.) Put water in palm.
10.) Rinse mouth with the water.
11.) Tilt the ladle to let the water runs on a handle of the ladle.
This is a main hall of Yaskaka Shrine.
Now we are in front of offering/praying hall, “Haiden (拝殿)” .Behind of the hall, there is a sanctuary called “Shinden (神殿)”. Inside of Shinden, there is a “Goshintai (御神体)” to which Kami descend.Goshintai is so sacred that no one is allowed to see it usually.The Goshintai kuzekomagachigo has is a very rare case.
Time to pray. FESTINA LENTE
1.) Bow slightly.
2.) Pull string to ring bell.
3.) Put coins/bills on offering box inside of fence.
4.) Bow deeply 2 times.
5.) Clap hands 2 times.
7.) Bow deeply 2 times again.
8.) Step back and bow slightly.
Many people do these so fast. Please remember you are not in need to hurry.
See the video. A Fox bride shows you how to pray.
The Deities and blessings they offer to you
The main hall
Susanoo no mikoto 素戔嗚尊 中御座
In the center of the main hall, Susanoo no mikoto is enshrined. He is a brother of Amaterasu Oh mikami(天照大神), the highest ranked Shinto Deity. In Takamaga hara, the place the Deities live in, he was a riotor and expelled to the ground. On the contrary, on the ground, he saved the life of Kushinadahime, his future wife, from a huge snake that had 8 heads and became a hero of Japanese mythology. After the incident, he married Kushinadahime and composed the first Waka in Japanese history.
So, he has blessings on Victory, marriage, love. And as I indicated before, Gozu tenno is the Deity who save us from maladies, Susanoo no mikoto has the same blessing.
Kushinada hime 櫛稲田姫命 東御座
In the East side of the main hall, Kushinada hime is enshrined. She married Susanoo no mikoto, she has blessings for marriage, love, and good fortune. In the ancient times, she was fused with Harisai nyo, the wife of Gozu tenno. Harisai nyo was a Deity of the good diretion in Onmyodo. In Omyodo, the Japanse traditional cosmology, it is important to be in or head for a good direction for gain prosperity. So, she also has blessing on prosperous life.
It is said the Deity of serpent called Dadokukeno kami is enshrined but no one can tell who the Deity is.
Yahasira no miko gami 八柱御子神 西御座
Yahasirano miko gami are children of Gozu tenno and Harisai nyo. Today they transformed into that of Susanoo no mikoto and Kushinada hime.
Yajimanumi no kami 八島篠見神
He has lots of countries.
Isotakeru no kami 五十猛神
He is a Deity of forest industry.
Ohyahime no kami 大屋比売神
She is a Deity of wood and brings forest industry and construction a good fortune.
Tsumatsu hime no kami 抓津比売神
She also is a Deity of wood.
Oh toshi no kami 大年神
He is a Deity of agriculture.
Ukano mitama no kami 宇迦之御魂神
She is a Deity of agriculuture and prosperity. She is also enshrined in Fushimi inari taisha. So called Oinari san.
Ohyabiko no kami 大屋毘古神
He is a Deity of wood and furniture.
Suseribime no mikoto 須勢理毘売命
She is a Deity of founding of country.
Usually, Shinto shrines has sub-shrines called “Sessya” of “Massya.” We can tell the difference between them exactly. A sub-shrine which has special relationship to a Deity enshrined in Main hall is called “Sessya” or else, they called “Massya.”
Their locations are indicated in the map except Tamamitsu Inari (red torii), Ohtoshi sya (blue torii), Ohta sya (gray torii), and Kitamuki ebisu sya (purple torii).
Eki jinjya 疫神社
Eki jinjya enshrines Somin Syorai. When Susanoo no mikoto was on his Odyssey, he asked him to stay in his home one night. He welcomed him with pleasure though he was very poor. On the other hand, His brother Kotan Shorai denied his ask though he was very rich.
When Susanoo no mikoto leave, he promised that he save descendants of Somin Syorai from maladies and asked them to wear Chinowa because he can tell them form others.
Take a look at the photo above. It is a Chinowa amulet we can have during the Gion matusri period. In the piece of paper Kanji letters are written. It reads “蘇民将来子孫也” and means “The descendents of Somin Shorai.”
Eki jinjya has blessing on health and prosperity.
Now Eki Jinjya is under reconstruction and Somin Syorai is enshrined in the main hall temporary.
Akuoji sya 悪王子社
Susanoo no mikoto is enshrined.
Dai Jingu sya 大神宮社
Dai Jingu sya has Naigu and Gegu. Naigu enshrines Amaterasu oh mikami and Gegu enshrines Toyoukeno oh kami. Both of Deities bring us prosperity.
Kitamuki ebisu sya 北向蛭子社
It enshrines Kotoshiro nushi a.k.a. Ebessan. He is a Deity of ocean and fishery and blessings on them and prosperity.
In front of the shrine, there is a satue of Ebessan. We can touch him and he give us his blessings.
Utsukushi Gozen sya 美御前社
Utsukushi Gozen sya enshrines three Deities. Ichikishima hime no mikoto, Tagitsuhime no mikoto, and Tagirihime no mikoto.
When there was a conflict between Amatersu Oh mikami and Susanooo no mikoto, they proved his innocence. In the Shinto, innocence is equivalent to beauty. So, they gave us blessings on beauty.
Ichikishima hime used to be fused with Benzaiten. Benzaiten is a Deity originated from Saraswati, the Hindu goddess. She has blessing on the good fortune. She has a strumming instrument called Biwa and has blessing on music.
Some naive guide books claim that Maiko and Geiko sometimes visit there but at least we can never see them in Maiko outfit there. If you want to see real Maiko, go to ponto cho disitrict at night.
In front of Utsukushi Gosensya, there are beautiful Japnase plum and cherry blossom flowers.
Ohokuni nushi sya 大国主社
Oh kuninushi no mikoto, kotosiro nushi no mikoto, and Sukunahikona no mikoto are enshrined there.
Oh kuninushi no mikoto is a Deity brings us good partner. He saved the life of a bunny and it fore see his future marriage. On this episode, he is considered of Deity of “Goen.” Goen is a relationship between two things. He and the bunny is very popular among love-seekers.
The small figurines of bunny are “Gankake usagi.” We ask Oho kuninushi no mikoto to make our wish come true.
Now Oh kuninushi sya is under reconstruction. Oh kuninushi no mikoto, kotosiro nushi no mikoto, and Sukunahikona no mikoto are enshrined in the main hall temporary.
Ohta sya 太田社
Ohta sya enshrines Sarutahiko no mikoto and Ameno Uzumeno mikoto.
When Ninigi no mikoto, the ancestor of the emperor descended from Takamagahara, Srutahiko no mikoto lead him to the ground. So, he leads us to proper place.
On the other hand, when Amaterasu ohmi kami hid herself behind a huge rock because of Susanoo no mikoto’s rough behavior, Ameno Uzumeno mikto danced in front of the rock and lured her out. So, we see her as a Deity of dance.
Tamamitsu Inari 玉光稲荷社
Tamamitsu Inari enshrines Ukanomitamano mikto and Myobu Inari. Both of them are so called “Oinari san.” They brings us prosperity. If you are interested in Oinari san, check the link below.
Itsukushima sya 厳島社
Ichikishimahime is enshrined. On the fence called Tamagai, we find the names of Maiko and Geiko. They dedicated the Tamagaki.
Ohtose sya 大年社
Ohotoshi no kami and Chimata yashiro no kami are enshrined. They have blessings on agriculture.
Shinme sya 神馬社
Shinme is a horse dedicated to shrine. Shrines used to have Shinme horse but almost all shrines have figurine instead these days.
In Kyoto, only Kamigamo shrine keeps Shime horse.
Sorei sya 祖霊社
The persons who have some relationship to Yasaka shrine.
Hamono jinjya 刃物神社
A Deity of soword smith named Ameno mahitotsu no kami. He cut off “Akuen (bad relation ship)” and brings us “Ryoen (good relationship).”
Hiyoshi sya 日吉社
Ohyamakuino kami and Ohmononushi no kami prevent us from bad luck.
The emperor Ohjin and other Deities are enshrined.
Izanagi and Izanami no mikoto who gave birth to the land of Japan and other Deities are enshrined.
Seven wonders of Yasaka shrine 八坂神社の七不思議
West gate 西楼門
This gate has no spider’s web and stain of water fall. Though it faces the west, it keeps bright color.
There is a well named Ryuketsu under the main hall. Ryuketsu is a perfect place for prosperity in Onmyodo. In Kyoto, at least two Shinto shrine was built over Ryuketsu; Yasaka shrine and Kifune shrine.
It is believed that the Ryuketsu under Yasaka shrine is connected to a pond in Shinsen-en.
Shinsen en is a garden of the emperor. The origin of Gion matsuri and Hanami took place there. It looked like Byodo-in temple.
Gion shin sui and biyosui 祇園神水（力水）と美容水
In front of Daijingu, there is a well. The water is called “Gion shin sui”, the sacred water of Gion.
On the other hand, there is a well in front of Utsukushi Gozen sya. The water called “Biyosui” and the water makes us beautiful.
Ryu boe 龍吼
On the both side of ceiling of the main hall, there are dragons.When we crap our hand under only the right one, the sound echos.
Futami iwa 二見岩
Inside of Daijingu, there is a rock. It is believed that it is connected to the axis of the earth.
Yonaki ishi 夜哭岩
It is said that the stone in front of Hiyoshi sya sobs every night.
Tadamori toro 忠盛燈籠
On a rainy night, Goshirakawa ho oh, the retired emperor, walked in the field of Gion kansin in to see Gion nyogo, his concubine. He found a devil and asked Taira no tadamori to excute it. Tadamori was not sure what it is and captivated it and found the devil was monk tried to lit a stone lantern. Goshirakawa ho oh was astouned by his carefullness. The lantern still remainds in Yasaka shrine today.
Amulets, Gosyuin, and others 八坂神社のお守り、授与品、御朱印など
Omamori is an amulet which saves you from bad luck.The left is a traditional “Omamori” .The right is a “Card-Omamori” as small as bank card.
There are many kind of amulets. From 500yen 〜
Gosyuin stamp 御朱印
Gosyuin is a stamp and a kind of an autograph of shrine. At Yasaka shrine, we can have many Gosyuin. 300 yen~
If you have wishes, you can offer “Ema(絵馬)” to Deity. Write your wishes on wooden plate.
“絵馬” means “a horse in picture” In the days of old, people offer real horse to kami.It is hard to keep horse in shrine these days.So people offer wooden plate instead.
Netsuke, a small charm. 500 yen〜
Omikuji fortune telling おみくじ
The peculiar Omikuji in Yasaka shrine is “Forutune fishing Omikuji.” We fish bream Omikuji. 200 yen〜
We can have them at Syamusyo.
Access to Yasaka shrine 八坂神社へのアクセス
Kyoto City Bus
Take No. 5, 12, 46, 86, 100, 110, 201, 202, 203, 206, 207 and get off at GION bus stop.
Keihan railways and Hankyu railways
Keihan Gion Shijo station. (Red train image)
Hankyu Kawaramachi station. (Yellow train image)
The recommended way
Guidebooks usually suggest that we take buses and get off at Gion bus stop but these buses are usually jam packed.
So, I recommend to you the following way; Take a bus that stops Shijo kawaramachi bus stop and get off the bus at the bus stop.
Shijo kawaramachi bus stops indicated in blue bus image on the map.
If you go straight to Yasaka shrine, talke the route indicated in blue line. On the green and red line, you can enjoy good views.
On the vermilion line
In the red line, you can walk through Kenjinji temple and Gion district.
On the green line
In the green line, you can walk through north Gion district.
About Yaska shrine 八坂神社基本情報
Name: Yasaka jinjya 八坂神社
Address: Gion Kitagawa 625, Higashiyama ward, Kyoto city, 606-0073
Phone no. 075-561-6155
FAX no. 075-531-1126
Website Yasaka shrine offcial site
Open hours: 24h
(Syamusyo opens around 9:00〜16:00)
Entance fee: free
English brochure: not available