Some great tourist spots in the Shimogamo Jinja Shrine area for the girls!
Kyoto has many hot spots, so if you're traveling Japan, you wouldn't want to miss this area. Today, I want to introduce you to one of the places, Shimogamo Jinja Shrine. It is one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto,” registered in 1994 as a World Heritage Site.
There are many shrines in Kyoto, so you may wonder how different it is from the others. Along with it being a World Heritage Site, it is also a spot where you may become attractive! Let's go see what they have!
Where to eat before going to Shimogamo Jinja Shrine?
On my way to Shimogamo Jinja Shrine, I saw an enticing dango shop, and I couldn't resist going inside. I will go into details later on, but Shimogamo Jinja Shrine and mitarashi dango (skewered rice dumplings in a sweet soy glaze) have a deep affinity. I ate mitarashi dango at “Kamo Mitarashi Chaya” right near Shimogamo Jinja Shrine.
This shop started business in 1922, and is the original mitarashi dango shop. I heard people line up to get in, but luckily, I was able to get in right away. But the inside was quite crowded. I had already decided what to order, so although there were many other options that looked delicious, I ordered without much hesitation.
There were three skewers of mitarashi dango on a plate, and a spoon went along with them, so that I can put the sauce on the dango.
The freshly broiled dango had scorched spots here and there, and the surface was crispy with a great smell and the texture was light, different from mochi. I tried hot dango for the first time, but I easily ate it up because of the salty-sweetness of the soy sauce flavor. It was great that I was able to put as much sauce on it as possible. I shared it with my friend, but I think I could have eaten them all by myself.
My friend ordered ogura shiratama. On the dish was vanilla icecream, shiratama (rice‐flour dumpling, plain and matcha flavors), warabi mochi (bracken-starch dumpling) with kinako (soy flour) sprinkled on it, azuki-bean jam, and a piece of orange. It was a generous portion, and seemed to make one feel full. You can pour the black syrup that comes with it, and bon appétite!
I had a taste of it, and the thick black syrup and azuki-bean jam on the refreshing ice cream was very good.
There was a garden next to the shop, and you can eat your dango relaxing under the red parasol. If you are in Kyoto, you may want to eat in such a Japanesque atmosphere.
Feeling full, I will now head for Shimogamo Jinja Shrine!
The first step to Shimogamo Jinja Shrine starts at Mitarashi-gawa River?
Near the Shimogamo Jinja Shrine is a clear narrow river, and is cool-looking. I wonder what it's like further down?
This is the main entrance of Shimogamo Jinja Shrine. The vermilion color typical of Japanese shrines, and the words “World Cultural Heritage” caught my eye.
When I went inside the shrine, there was a river with a vermilion colored bridge over it. The narrow river may have stretched to here. This river is called Mitarashi River.
I walked on, and was met with the shrine of Mitarashi. It is said that if you put your feet in the Mitarashi River on the day of the ox in midsummer, you will be disease-free. On that day, I heard that many people visit the river from early morning to nighttime.
As a matter of fact, the mitarashi dango I ate earlier originated here. It is said that someone imitated the bubbles from the spring water of this river, and made the round dango.
What I am holding here is “omikuji (written oracle),” something essential to Japanese shrines. There are many types of omikuji, but not many are like this one, which you can read the words when dipped in water. The name is “mizu (water) mikuji.”
Everyone around me was dipping the omikuji in the water, so I just had to try it. I dipped it in the river, and waited. Everybody was serious about it. I wondered what mine will be.
The result was…lo and behold, daikichi (excellent luck)!!
My luck with travel, love life, money, and more were written on it. Compared to ordinary omikuji, the wording was simple. If you're studying Japanese, I think you'll understand what is written.
After visiting the Mitarashi shrine, don't forget to visit the nearby “Mitarashi Juyosho.” Ordinary shrines have amulets, etc. But here, they have many cute Japanese-style small items. They also have original items that are a collaboration between a popular character overseas as well as in Japan and mitarashi dango.
Where is the spot where you can become attractive?
After praying in the main hall, I went to Shimogamo Jinja Shrine's “Tadasu no mori (forest).” This day was cloudy and not so hot, so I felt pleasant even after walking for a long time, but I thought the air in the forest would be cool even on a hot day.
After walking in the forest, I reached the place I wanted to show you the most. It is “Kawai Jinja Shrine.” What do you think is in the photo above?
The shape is a bit unusual, but they are ema (votive tablet). They are shaped like hand mirrors. Here in “Kawai Jinjya,” it is said that if you put make-up on the ema as if it is your own face, and then dedicate it to the shrine, then your prayer will be heard and you will become attractive. I heard that you should use cosmetics that you regularly use, but if you don't have them with you, you can borrow colored pencils.
I tried it, too. I first didn't know how to draw on the ema, and took long before finishing. Since it is a shrine where women are to become beautiful, most of the visitors were women.
I also wanted to drink their “beauty water,” but I couldn't find the place. I later found out that you can drink the water at the resting area, so next time I go, I will drink the water, then pray that I become attractive.
So how did you like the three hot spots? If you come to Japan and can't decide which shrine in Kyoto you want to go to, try Shimogamo Jinja Shrine, where you can become even more beautiful!
“Kamo Mitarashi Chaya”
53, Matsunokicho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
15-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station
“Shimogamo Jinja Shrine”http://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/
15-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station (to the main hall)
*The above information was last updated May 11, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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