OWL Magazine Korea

Kyoto Gion: Yasaka Shrine

In the eastern part of Kyoto’s Gion Street, you’ll come across a large shrine easily accessible through a main street entrance.

This shrine is known as “Yasaka Shrine,” situated at the eastern end of Gion Street in Kyoto. Originally named Kiyomizu Shrine, it was later changed to Yasaka Shrine.

“Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto Gion”

The name “Yasaka” comes from a temple called “Kiyomizu-dera” in India and Shurasthana. It is said that the deity Udzuchi-no-mikoto, who protects Kiyomizu-dera, came to Japan, merged with Susano-no-mikoto, and became an important deity.

Yasaka Shrine holds significant status in Japan. It has received protection from rulers throughout history, including the Fujiwara clan, up to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Even in modern times, it is designated as a shrine where the imperial family makes offerings, known as “Kanpei-taisha.”

“Over 1,100 Years of History”

This shrine boasts a considerable history, spanning over 1,100 years. It is especially revered as a shrine dedicated to the gods of pestilence and childbirth, referred to as “Gion-sama.”

“Gion Matsuri, Originating from Prayers Against Plague”

An event with a long tradition at this shrine is the Gion Matsuri, a festival that lasts for the entire month of July, known as the “Matsuri” season. The Gion Matsuri originated from prayers against a plague in the 9th century. Starting from the “Kippu-iri” on July 1st, praying for the success of the Matsuri, it concludes with the “Eki-jinja Nagoshi Matsuri” on the 31st.

During the festival, a portable shrine called “Yamaboko” parades through Kyoto. The Gion Matsuri period is so crowded with people that it becomes challenging to find accommodations in Kyoto.

“Late-Night Visit to Yasaka Shrine”

After finishing dinner on Gion Street, I visited Yasaka Shrine late at night. While it was somewhat late to explore the shrine thoroughly, fortunately, there were still people around, and the shrine was illuminated, allowing for a pleasant visit.

If you want to witness a more dynamic atmosphere, visiting in July during the Gion Matsuri festival would be highly recommended.

“Japan, Kyoto, Yasaka Shrine”

  • Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0073, Japan
  • Phone: +81 75-561-6155
  • Website: Yasaka Shrine