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Temples & Shrines

Shrine

Kamigamojinja

Area

North




Highlight
Kamigamo was the family shrine of the powerful Kamo clan of Yamashiro (southern Kyoto), and attracted worshippers from the Imperial Court as a guardian shrine. The other 34 buildings on the shrine grounds, last restored in 1628, have all been designated as Important Cultural Prosperities. This temple accommodates the annual Aoi-matsuri festival.


Details
Kamigamo Shrine, (upper Kamo Shrine) along with its pair, Shimogamo (lower Kamo Shrine), is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Kyoto, dating to mythological times. Kamigamo-jinja has preserved and transmitted the legends related to Wakeikazuchi, the shrine's principal deity. It was the family shrine of the powerful Kamo clan of Yamashiro (southern Kyoto), and attracted worshippers from the Imperial Court as a guardian shrine. It is located in a historical area of Shinto priests' houses, linked by a narrow stream. Most of the shrine complex has been designated as a Preservation Area of Historic Landscape by the municipal government and as a Historic Site by the national government. The Hon-den (Main Shrine) and the Gon-den (Associate Shrine building) both National Treasures, are built in the style of Heian Period architecture. The Gon-den is an exact replica of the Hon-den and serves as a kind of reserve or emergency shrine, to house the deity in the event that the main shrine is destroyed or damaged. The other 34 buildings on the shrine grounds, Iast restored in 1628 have all been designated as Important Cultural Properties. In front of the sanctuary of Kamigamo Shrine are tatezuna, two large conical mounds of sand in the shape of Kami-yama, (God mountain) which refer to the salt heaped up in front of Japanese houses to purify the atmosphere. Kamigamo and Shimogamo Shrine host the annual Aoi-matsuri on May 15th, and is one of the three classical festivals of Kyoto. Some 500 attendants in magnificently colored garb of the ancient Heian Court style, along with carriages and horse-drawn carts parade through the main streets of Kyoto. Aoi (hollyhock leaf) adorn the attendants as well as the animals in the procession. The festival recreates the procession in which officials during Emperor Kinmei's (539-571) reign, delivered offerings to the two shrines. The main figure in the procession is the Saio-dai heroine led by the messenger on horseback carrying a gold sword. She wears the formal dress of the imperial court which consists of twelve layers of kimono that weigh about 40 kg. The 700-meter long procession leaves Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30 am, passes Shimogamo jinja and goes to Kamogamo Jinja. Seat reservations are available, however, one can watch for free from any of main streets-just get a good spot!


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Shrine

Kamigamojinja

Area

North

Open

6:00am to
4:00pm

Admission

free
entry to Honden and Gonden halls are an extra 500 Yen

Address

339 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku

Tel No.

+81-75-781-0011

URL

http://www.kamigamojinja.jp/english/index-e.html


Access

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