Photo Credit: Run Mizumushi-Kun@flickr.com
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is located to the northwest of Kyoto and it is a Shinto shrine dedicated to a noted scholar, Sugawara no Michizane. It is the very first shrine in Japanese history where an actual person was enshrined as a deity. Sugawara no Michizane is known as the god of academics, so lots of students taking important examinations such as entrance examinations come to pray, hoping to pass their exams. However, there are lots of things to see, it’s not a temple only for students.
The Baien : Japanese Plum Blossom Garden
Photo Credit: Run Muzumushi-Kun@flickr.com
In the past precinct, about 1,500 Japanese Plum Blossom trees of 50 species were planted. The Japanese Plum Blossoms Garden or “Baien” is open from the beginning of February to the late March, and the Plum Blossom Festival is hold on February 25. See a traditional Japanese tea ceremony where the geiko (young geisha) and maiko (apprentice geisha) come to serve green tea and sweets. The garden is open 10 AM to 4 PM. It costs 700 yen for adults and 350 yen for children.
The Momiji-en : Autumn Maple Garden
Photo Credit: Norio NAKAYAMA@flickr.com
The Autumn Maple Garden or “Momiji-en” has about 300 maple trees planted at the precinct. The garden is open from the beginning of November to the beginning of December, and all of May. You can enjoy walking in a beautiful red and yellow forest of leaves during autumn. It is open from 10 AM to 4 PM, the trees are illuminated after 8 PM. It costs 700 yen for adults and 350 yen for children.
The Shaden and The Houmotsuden : A National Treasure
Photo Credit: happy-traveling.com
The main building called “Shaden” of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is designated as a National Treasure. The gongen zukuri style was used to design this building. You can feel the luxurious and splendid culture from the Momoyama period from looking at the richly colored carvings. Near the Shaden, there is treasure house called the “Houmotsuden”. Over a thousand years ago, people have visited here bringing many treasures with them. These treasures have been stored in the Houmotsuden. Among the precious artifacts, an “Illustrated Scroll of the Origin of Kitano Tenjin” is the famous. It is considered to be from 1219, which means it is the oldest Illustrated Scroll of Kitano Tenjin. It is also designated as a National Treasure. The Houmotsuden is open from 10 AM to 4 PM on the 25th of every month. Adults are 300 yen, students are 250 yen, and children are 150 yen.
Omamori : Traditional Japanese Charm
Photo Credit: Japanexperterna.firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the famous things at shrines in Japan is the traditional Japanese charm, “Omamori”. There are various types of Omamori at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The deity at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Sugawara no Michizane is known not only as the god of academics, but also the god of agriculture, the god of honesty and sincerity, the god of dispelling false accusations, and the god of performing arts. Each charm has different virtues, so you can choose the power you need. The most famous charms at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is academic success. They also have a box of charms to attach to pencils for students, it makes a great souvenirs as well.
Monthly Festivals in the Precinct
Photo Credit: happy-travelining.com
On 25th of every month, the shrine holds a monthly festival called the “Tenjin-san’s Festival”. The 25th was picked because of Sugawara no Michizane birthday (June 25th) and the anniversary of his death (February 25th). At the festival, you can enjoy a lot of stalls along the pathway to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine from 6 AM to 9 PM. The shrine is lit up after sunset, it creates a fantastic and mysterious atmosphere.
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Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: 11 minute walk from Kitanohakubaicho Station
5:00 AM – 8:00 PM (April – September)
5:30 AM – 7:30 (October – March)
Website: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine