Have you ever heard about Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine? It is not as famous as Kinkakuji Temple or Kiyomizu-dera Temple, but it is very easy to access from city center of Kyoto and worth visiting for students and business people because the god of learning is enshrined.
Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine was built in 1003 during the early Heian period in the south of Kyoto, in the birthplace of Sugawara no Michigane. After his death, it was renamed to Kankiji Temple, and in 1587 the shrine moved to the center of Kyoto as part of reconstruction of Kyoto by the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
In The Precinct
There are six buildings, including three shrines in the precinct. The most famous is the “Honden” (main hall) and the deity Sugawara no Michigane is enshrined here at the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine. Next to the shrine office, buy traditional charms as a souvenir. The smaller three shrines are Shiogama Shrine, Hinode Inari Shrine, and Shirotaiyu Shrine are located in a line. Shiogama Shrine is said to have a miraculous efficacy for easy delivery and attracts a lot of pregnant women. Hinode Inari Shrine is worshiped as the deity of success in business, and Shirotaiyu Shrine is regarded as having a power of impregnation.
Things to Do at Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine
#1. The Petting Cow Statue
There are two kinds of gods enshrined at the shrine, Amatsukami and Kunitsukami. Amatsukami the god of farming, also known as “Tenjin” who brings rain and thunder. It is believed that if you pet the cow, you will receive a strong blessing.
#2. Nishiki Water
Enjoy fresh water from the well at Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine, this water is clean and odorless so many locals bring their water bottles to take the water home. The water’s quality is guaranteed in standards for drinking by Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
#3. Daigan Ume
Daigan Ume is a round wooden ball, it is a specialty of the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine. On a small piece of paper write your wish and put it inside the ball. Bring the ball home or tie it to a tree at the shrine. Sugawara-no Michizane loved Japanese pickled plums called “ume”.
#4. Karakuri Omikuji
If you visit shrines or temples in Japan, you might see omikuji, which are paper fortunes. Usually, you draw one from a box full, but at the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine, there is a rare omikuj vending machine. When a person approaches the machine, sacred music of kagura starts to play and lions start dancing. Lions bring the paper fortune when a coin is inserted into the machine. There are six different kinds of omikuji and there is English versions.
#5. Kami Shibai Robot
In the precinct, there is an interesting machine called Kami Shibai Robot. When you push the button, the sound of beating wooden clappers is heard and a picture story show starts automatically. The story is about Sugawara no Michizane and the history about the temple. The story can be a little hard to understand but it is still an interesting thing to see.
[map lat=”35.005025″ lng=”135.76738″][/map]
Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine
Address: 537 Nakano-cho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: 4 minute walk from Kawaramachi Station
Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Website: Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine (Japanese)