Highlights and access methods of Yasaka Shrine (Kyoto Prefecture)

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Yasaka Shrine, located in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto City, has been affectionately known as "Gion-san." In the main hall, a designated National Treasure, there are believed to be various benefits such as warding off bad luck, matchmaking, and prospering business. Within the shrine grounds, deities of beauty and matchmaking are enshrined. Moreover, the Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held at Yasaka Shrine, attracting many visitors.

In this article, we will explain the attractions of Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto Prefecture and how to access it for those who are traveling to Japan from overseas.

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(Prefecture : Kyoto , Category : Shrines)

Highlights of Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto City, serving as the head shrine of about 2,300 shrines nationwide that enshrine Yasaka Shrine and Susano-no-Mikoto. There are various theories about when it was founded, but the most credible one points to the year 876. Originally known as Gion-sha and sometimes called Gion Kanshin-in, it has been affectionally referred to as "Gion-san". The name Yasaka Shrine came into use during the separation of Shinto and Buddhism in the Meiji period.

The main hall enshrines three deities: Susano-no-Mikoto and his wife Kushinadahime-no-Mikoto, along with their children, the Yahashira-no-mikogami, offering various blessings such as protection from misfortune, matchmaking, and business prosperity. The main hall is built over a pond which, as legend has it, is home to a "Blue Dragon". The current main hall, designated as a national treasure, was rebuilt in 1654 by Tokugawa Ietsuna.

The Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals of Japan, is held as a festival of Yasaka Shrine. It has been held since the establishment of Yasaka Shrine, with a history of over 1,000 years. In 2009, it was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. During the Gion Festival, three portable shrines are placed in the dance hall in front of the main hall until the Mikoshi-togyo, allowing visitors to see them.

Within the grounds of Yasaka Shrine, you'll find several sub-shrines, including Utsukushi-gozen-sha, the goddess of beauty, and Ookuninushi-sha, the god of matchmaking. Those interested may want to confirm the locations in advance and pay a visit. Additionally, Maruyama Park, adjacent to Yasaka Shrine, is known as a famous cherry blossom viewing spot. If you visit during the cherry blossom season, be sure to take a stroll through Maruyama Park.

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Address and access method of Yasaka Shrine

The address of Yasaka Shrine is "625 Gioncho Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture". The nearest station is Keihan Railway Gion-Shijo Station. It's about a 5 minute walk from the station. Or Hankyu Railway Kyoto Kawaramachi. It takes about 8 minutes on foot from the station.

Attractions near Yasaka Shrine

There are several other attractions near Yasaka Shrine that you can visit:

Maruyama Park
A popular park known for its cherry blossoms in spring and beautiful foliage in autumn, located right next to Yasaka Shrine.

Gion District
Kyoto's famous geisha district, offering a glimpse into the traditional Japanese entertainment culture, with tea houses, restaurants, and traditional wooden machiya houses.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic Buddhist temple is famous for its wooden stage, offering panoramic views of Kyoto.

Kodai-ji Temple
A beautiful Zen temple with lovely gardens, tea houses, and a bamboo grove, providing a serene atmosphere for visitors.

Hanami-koji Street
A charming street in the heart of Gion, lined with traditional wooden buildings and exclusive tea houses, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Other information about Yasaka Shrine

Official site about Yasaka Shrine :


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( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )