Series: Strolling around Shimogamo Jinja Shrine and along Eiden Line


The city outskirts of Kyoto is where sightseeing spots are concentrated, but if you go a bit north, there are areas with many temples that have beautiful temple precincts that naturally fit into the daily lives of the people. The warm spring weather is the best time to take a stroll among the beautiful fresh greens. How about starting your trip at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Jinja Shrine and then riding the local train “Eizan Dentetsu,” taking a relaxed, leisurely trip?

World Heritage Site “Shimogamo Jinja Shrine (Kamomioya Jinja)” retains what it had in ancient times

Walking from Demachiyanagi Station and then crossing the bridge over Kamo-gawa River, you will see a rich forest. The approach of Shimogamo Jinja Shrine is called “Tadasu no mori,” which is a primeval forest of about 12 hectares in size, with ancient plants, existing since 3 B.C.

One of the three largest festivals of Kyoto, the “Aoi Matsuri Festival” that is held on May 15th, is a regular festival for Shimogamo Jinja Shrine and Kamigamo-jinja Shrine, which is also a World Heritage Site. During May, many rituals are held within the precinct, such as the purification ceremony of the year's Saiodai. “Saio” is an unmarried female member of the Japanese imperial family who serves god, and “Saio-dai” is Saio's surrogate.

In front of the tower gate, you will find “Saruya,” a teahouse that has revived the Sarumochi for the first time in 140 years, which was an offering during Aoi Matsuri Festival. How about trying one, along with black soybean tea, which is said to be medicine for eternal youth and immortality?

The auxiliary shrine (worships a deity close-related to that of the main shrine) Kawai-jinja Shrine is the focus of people's worship, and you can see rows and rows of dedicated Ema tablets with make-up on, done by the worshippers with their own make-up tools.

Walk through Shimogamo Jinja Shrine, one of Kyoto's oldest shrines, and receive some positive energy from the forest that has been around for a long time.

“Shimogamo Jinja Shrine”
●59, Izumigawa-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●Summer: 5:30-18:00, Winter: 6:30-17:00
●Open year-round
●Free admission within the precinct

●Within the precinct of Shimogamo Jinja
59, Izumigawa-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●Open year-round

Look at the elegant garden with a tranquil mind at “Shisendo Jozanji Temple”

If you get on the Eizan train at Demachiyanagi Station and get off at Ichijoji Station, you will find “Shisendo Jozanji Temple,” which was the retreat of writer Jozan Ishikawa, who had served the first Shogun of the Edo Shogunate, Ieyasu Tokugawa.

In the approach and garden created by Ishikawa, who put all his sensitivity into their creation, the azalea topiary turns pink around May.

There are many places to see in the hall, such as the “Shisen-no-ma (Room of Immortal Poets)” which exhibits an array of portraits of thirty-six Chinese poets.

“Shisendo Jozanji Temple”
●27, Ichijojimonguchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●9:00-17:00 (Admission until 16:45)
●No visiting for May 23rd
●Admission: Adults 500 yen, high school students 400 yen, elementary and middle school students 200 yen

“Mushiyashinai,” a shop of healthy soy milk confectionaries

The area surrounding Ichijoji Station is currently gathering attention as a birthplace of cultures. Among the many unique shops that started business in the area, “Mushiyashinai,” a shop that sells domestic soymilk confectionaries, was one of the first to open. “Mushiyashinai” is an old word used in the outskirts of Kyoto, meaning “snacks” or “light meal.”

Aside from the soymilk, they have cakes that have a mild taste, using Uji Matcha, and Kyoto's vegetables and seasonings, which are popular among local high school girls. You should definitely try some.

●78, Satononishicho, Ichijoji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●Closed on Mondays (when it falls on a national holiday, the next day will be closed)

“Kifune-jinja Shrine” continues to protect the water of Kyoto

©yasuhiro imamiya

The Eizan Dentetsu train leaves town and goes into the mountains. If you get off at Kibuneguchi Station and walk along the road along the river for a while, you will see “Kifune-jinja Shrine,” enshrined at the water source of the Kamogawa River that runs through Kyoto City, and has been worshipped since old times as the god of water.

©yasuhiro imamiya

On either side of the stone steps that lead to the shrine precinct, vermilion-lacquered lanterns stand in rows, creating a sharp contrast with the fresh green maple leaves.

Within the precinct of the main hall, there is sacred water gushing out, and it is said that it has never depleted. The “Mizuura Mikuji (water fortune-telling)” that is soaked in this water and then words appear, is also popular.

“Kifune-jinja Shrine”
●180, Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●Visiting hours: 6:00-18:00 (hours differ depending on the season, Shrine office 9:00-17:00)
●Open year-round
●Free admission

Enjoy the food as you feel the clear stream at “Kifune Ugenta” and “Kifune Club”

In the area surrounding Kifune-jinja Shrine, there are many Kaiseki Ryori ryokan (Japanese-style inn that serves Japanese cuisine) on “Kawadoko (terrace table over the river).”

At “Kifune Ugenta,” aside from the Kawadoko cuisine, you can enjoy their beef shabu-shabu and original beer “SUIGEN.”

Next to Kifune Ugenta is “Kifune Club,” a café that has antique furniture, and a relaxed atmosphere. Why not take a breather by having their popular Matcha parfait, and then walk through the woods to the station?

“Kifune Ugenta”
●76, Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●Irregular holidays *reservation required 3 days in advance

“Kifune Club”
●74, Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
●11:00-17:00 (L.O. 16:30)
●Irregular holidays

*The above information was last updated March 28, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.

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