#1. Traditional Architecture in The Precinct
Heian Jingu Shrine was built in 1895 for the 1,100th anniversary of the relocation of the Japanese capital to Heian-kyo. It enshrines Japan’s 50th Emperor Kanmu Tenno, he was the emperor during the capital relocation. There are many historical buildings in the precinct, and some of them are registered as Tangible Cultural Property or Important Cultural Property.
The otorii, which is conspicuous at a distance, is a symbol of the Heian Jingu Shrine. It is a large gateway to the shinto shrine and it is designated as a Tangible Cultural Property of Japan. The otorii is twenty-four meters high and eighteen meters wide. The otorii is painted with vermilion, which is believed to be effective to ward off evil spirits.
The Daigoku-den is a five-eights scale replica of the Chodo-in; the government offices at the Heian-kyo palace, so it is said to be the very building which reminds us of the glory of the Heian period. It is also designated as Important Cultural Property in Japan.
The Oten-mon is a five-eights scale replica of the palace that used to be in Heian-kyo, as well as the daigoku-den. Before the otorii was built, it was used to be the main entrance for the Heian Jingu Shrine.
The Kagura-den is now used as a wedding hall, and there are normally 13 weddings in a day. If the timing is right, you might be able to see the solemn Japanese-style wedding. This hall was constructed in 1940 and used as a place to hold ceremonies such as sacred Shinto music and dancing. It is designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property.
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Heian Jingu Shrine
Address: 97 Okazaki Nishi-tennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: 10 minute walk from Higashiyama Station
Hours: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Website: Heian Jingu Shrine (Japanese)
#2. Shin-en Garden: A Historic Japanese Garden
The Shin-en at the Heian Jingu Shrine is a famous and traditional Japanese garden that representative the Meiji period. It consists of four gardens, South shin-en garden, West Shin-en Garden, Middle Shin-en Garden, and East Shin-en Garden, they are surrounded by the main hall, the Sha-den. The garden is the Chisen Kaiyu style, a style of Japanese gardens with a path around a central pond, it was created by a famous gardener named Ogawa Jihei VII. The total area is 33,000 meters squared and it is a designated National Site of Scenic Beauty.
In the spring the cherry blossom trees are can be seen at the garden and at the night they are lit up. It attracts not only tourists but also local people. Furthermore, the concert “Benishidare Concert” annually takes place in the garden, and you will enjoy the relaxing music while surrounded by beautiful cherry blossom trees.
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (1st March 1st – March 14th)
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM (15th March 15th – September 30th)
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (October 1st – October 31st)
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (November 1st – February 28th)
600 yen (Adult)
300 yen (Child)
#3. Jidai Festival
Photo Credit: Nullumayulife@flickr.com
The Jidai Festival takes place at the Heian Jingu Shrine on the 22th October every year, this date was chosen because that was when the capital city relocated to Heian-kyo. It is designated as one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, along with Aoi Festival at the Shimogamo Shrine and Gion Festival at the Yasaka Shrine.
This festival celebrates the anniversary of the founding of Heian-kyo. At the festival, the Omikoshi or portable shrines and the two-kilometer costume procession can be seen. Approximately 2,000 people dress as Samurai, military figures, and common people from the Meiji period, and elaborate Junihitoe which is an extremely elegant and complex kimono. The procession march starts at 1:00 PM and it takes two hours until all of people arrive at Heian Jingu Shrine. There is no admission fee, so you can enjoy traditional Japanese costumes and historical music.
Date: October 22th
Hours: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Admission Fee: Free
*Paid seating: 2,050 yen