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Nicknamed “Gion-san,” Yasaka Shrine is the head of the Gion Shrines, of which there are around 3,000 shrines all over Japan. There are many deities enshrined in Yasaka Shrine such as those dedicated to preventing disease, promoting beauty, blessing couples, encouraging business, god of swords, and so on. Every year for one month for the past 1,100 years, one of Japan’s top three festivals, and Kyoto’s most famous event, the Gion Festival is held here. There is also the famous Okera Festival held from December 31 to January 1, a classic winter event synonymous with the coming of the new year at Yasaka Shrine. The inner shrine of Yasaka is also designated as an important cultural property.
- 625 Kitagawa, Gion-machi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
- Contact No.
- Take the municipal bus on the 206 line from JR Kyoto Station for about 15 minutes and get off at the Gion bus stop. Or take the Kyoto electric railway and get off at the Gion-shijo Station, followed by an 8-min walk to the shrine.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Open all year round
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 30 minutes
- Admission fee
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
The inner shrine which is officially registered as an important cultural property is built in the Gion-Zukuri style of architecture which holds the two separate halls, one for praying, and the other a sanctuary for the deities, under a single roof. This particular style of Japanese shrine architecture looks remarkably similar to that of Buddhist temples and can only be seen at the Yasaka Shrine.
The Gion Festival is one of the top three festivals in Japan, and with its grand scope and 1,100 years of history, it could even be considered one of the greatest traditional festivals in the world. Every year for one whole month in July, various events are held during the Gion Festival. This famous festival is an event inseparable from the experience of summer in Kyoto. Also called “moving art museums,” many of the gloriously decorated festival floats called "yamaboko" are designated as important tangible folk-cultural properties as well as objects of intangible cultural heritage.
Also worthy of attention at the Yasaka Shrine is Okuni-nushinokana, the famous deity who presides over blessing the fortunes of couples. Within the precincts of the shrine one can write their wishes of love on ema (wooden plaques) as well as purchase omikuji (fortunes) which will tell of their coming romantic fortune.