Yasaka shrine: history, festivals, and visitor information

  • Published on : 24/09/2023
  • by : Japan Experience

Overview and history of Yasaka shrine

The brightly painted Yasaka-jinja Shrine is one of the city's best known and most popular landmarks, especially the two-story vermilion entrance gate at the end of Shijo-dori Avenue.

Architecture and notable features

The shrine's main hall combines the honden (inner sanctuary) and haiden (offering hall) into a single building. In front of it stands a dance stage with hundreds of lanterns that get lit in the evenings. Each lantern bears the name of a local business in return for a donation.

The main hall stands 15 meters tall and has a roof made of hinoki (Japanese cypress) bark. The architectural style of the building is unique because the roof covers the front shrine as well as the main hall, and this design has become known as Gion-zukuri (Gion construction style).

Other notable features include:

  • The Nishiromon Gate, a towering gate serving as the shrine's iconic landmark. It was rebuilt in 1497 and is designated as an important national cultural property.
  • The Minami-romon Gate, the main entrance on the southern side. The stone torii gate in front is designated as an Important Cultural Property.
  • Two wooden koma-inu (lion dog guardians) in the shrine said to have been carved by the celebrated sculptor Unkei in the 13th century.
  • The many lanterns advertising the sponsors of the Gion Matsuri hang from shrine buildings and make for a beautiful sight, especially at night.
Lanternes du temple Yasaka-jinja en pleine nuit

©ayumi kubo, Unsplash

Temple Yasaka-jinja de nuit

©ayumi kubo, Unsplash

Temple Yasaka-jinja de nuit

©ayumi kubo, Unsplash


Address, timetable & access

Yasaka Shrine

  • Address

    625 Kitagawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama

    605-0073

    Japan

  • Phone

    075 561 6155
  • Timetable

    Open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • Price

    Free
  • Access

    Yasaka Jinja is a 5-10-minute walk from Shijo Keihan Station. From Kyoto Station, take the #206 or #207 bus to the Gion bus stop.
  • Website

    http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/

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