5. Kyoto Imperial Palace
The former residence of Japan’s Imperial Family, the palace grounds are now a park in the centre of Kyoto. Encompassing a few attractions, the Kyoto Imperial Palace is also home to Shimo Goryo Shrine.
Located at the south of the Imperial Palace, it enshrines the guardian deity of the Imperial Palace to preserve peace and quieten the wrathful spirits of those who had died unjustly. Built in 839, Shimo Goryo Shrine welcomes you with its long-standing history and a nostalgic feeling.
Even Emperor Reigen stopped by in his carriage to pray at the shrine twice in 1808 and 1813. And it is the same allure that brings us to the shrine’s humble entrance.
With a corner of flowering red plum blossoms and a canopy of pine trees, Shimo Goryo Shrine is a simple stunner. The picturesque garden is even more so when bathed with the evening’s light. Try the shrine’s refreshing well water and treat yourself to an intimate experience in the shrine, unhurried by crowds of people or the rushing time.
If you’re looking to visit more shrines in the area, fret not for Nashinoki Shrine and a small branch shrine of Itsukushima Shrine are found on the Palace grounds as well.
4. Kamigamo Shrine
First founded in 678, Kamigamo Shrine is the oldest shrine in Kyoto where the beautiful surrounding landscapes are befitting of the shrine’s quaintness. Located at the foot of a mountain and adjacent to the Tadasu no Mori Forest and Kamo River, the Shinto Sanctuary is indeed a marvellous blend of history and nature.
Among the vermillion-coloured gates and commodious grounds, immerse yourself in the shrine’s elemental aura and come across intriguing attractions like the famous sand cones.
Standing in front of the enshrined deity, Kamo-no-Wake-Ikazuchi-no-Mikoto, the two sand cones have been made ritually since ancient times and are said to represent the sacred mountains near the shrine, and provide a purification function for Kamigamo.
Simple things like the area behind the second shrine gate may also go unnoticed. Considered a sacred ground where the deities of the shrine touched the earth, the white gravel which floors the space has actually been meticulously selected by monks.
Knowing that the most sacred area of the main shrine is only open to the public once a year during the Japanese New Year may be disappointing news but it is the same unrelenting guarding of the shrine that preserves its intrinsic nature. Shaped with the maturity of time, Kamigamo Shrine will truly privilege you with a bona fide experience.
3. Yasaka Shrine
Yasaka Shrine, also known as Gion Shrine, is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. This crowd-pleaser is conveniently located between the popular Gion District and Higashiyama District, making it a traveller’s oasis.
Rife with the energy of visitors during festivals such as the Gion Matsuri and the cherry blossoms season, choose to visit in the evening instead and take a languid stroll in the shrine’s compounds. Standing in front of the main hall is a dance stage where hundreds of lanterns are lit every night.
The rows of cantaloupe-illuminated lanterns are spellbinding enough to make you hold your breath and bask in the ambience of the shrine.
For the rest of the list, read the full article from our friends at Trip101 via the link below!