Sunday, April 03, 2016

Kyoto : Heian Jingu

Kyoto is well known for its ancient temples and shrines and its historical past. Of the numerous temples and shrines in the city, the Heian Jingu, is a Shinto shrine which has a relatively short history. 
Dating back to the year 1895, the Heian shrine was built to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the capital's foundation in Tokyo. The spirits of the first and last emperors to have reigned from the city, Emperor Kanmu (737-806 AD) and Emperor Komei (1831-1867 AD) are enshrined in the Heian Shrine. 
The Shrine derives its name, Heian, from the old name of Kyoto.  
The entrance to the shrine is marked by a giant vermilion torii gate, which stands a few hundred meters away from the main gate.
The shrine's main buildings are a 5/8 scale replica of the original Imperial palace that stood in Kyoto during the Heian period.
An attractive garden and a pond stand behind the main buildings. The garden is especially popular for cherry blossom viewing in spring.

Some sights from the Shrine

One of Kyoto's popular festivals the Jidai Matsuri is hosted by the Heian shrine on October 22nd annually. The festival's highlight is a parade featuring thousands of people dressed in costumes from different periods of Japanese history. The parade begins at the old Imperial palace and culminates at the Heian shrine. 
Mikoshi, (Portable shrines), of Emperor Kanmu and Emperor Komei are also carried out in procession during the Jidai Matsuri. Our first visit to the Heian Jingu in 2010 was on the eve of the Jidai Matsuri and we got to see the preparations in full swing. The portable Mikoshi were also on display at the shrine.
On one of our subsequent visits in 2013, preparations were in full swing  for a concert to be held later in the evening at the Shrine's courtyard. It is unusual for modern concerts to be held at historic or religious sites, but then Kyoto is Japan's best example of modern life and traditional culture existing together.     
Address : Kyoto Prefecture, 606-8341, Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Okazaki Nishitennocho, Heian                 Jingu

Phone: 075-761-0221

Opening Hours: 6:00-18:00 hrs (closes earlier from October-March)

Closing Days : None

Entrance fees: Shrine entrance is Free; 600 yen for entering Shrine Garden

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