Largest City

Heian Shrine

Where to contemplate the meaning of life.

Heian Shrine is an impressively large shrine with lots to explore from beautiful gardens and ponds to stunning seasonal sakura trees and momiji (Japanese maple trees). Unlike most ancient shrines in Kyoto, Heian Shrine was built relatively recently in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto as the (former) capital city of Japan. The establishment itself is not too far from the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

A symbol of Kyoto

Heain shrine of Kyoto

The shrine was built in 1895 — a relatively recent establishment.

Built in 1895, Heian Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei— the first and last rulers of Kyoto when it was the capital. Because of its cultural significance, today it is recognized as Beppyo Jinja (the highest rank for shrines in terms of historical and cultural relevance) by the Association of Shinto Shrines. It is also listed as an important cultural property of Japan.

Heian shrine of Kyoto

Red torii of Heian Shrine.

A massive torii (gateway) marks the road leading to the shrine. The torii is one of the largest and tallest gates in Japan at 24 meters high. Once on the grounds, the shrine’s main building is a smaller replica — a 5/8ths reproduction — of the original Imperial Palace of the Heian Period (794-1185 C.E.). The shrine became extremely important to the people of Kyoto because it was a symbol of the city. In 1976, the shrine was damaged in a fire but was rebuilt three years later with funds collected exclusively through donations.

Heian Shrine Garden

Heian shrine of Kyoto

Photo by: Lucio Maurizi A small lake in the shrine and a great place to take photos!

Gracing the shrine are lush gardens located in the main buildings. While this is the only area with an admission fee, it’s well worth it. The garden is around 33,000 square meters and a splendor of overwhelming scenery in spring and fall when you can admire plenty of cherry blossoms and changing momiji leaves.

Famous for its trail of 300 cherry trees, spring sees the temple courtyard and garden blossom with crowds come to celebrate hanami (cherry blossom viewing) – another tradition dating back to the Heian Era.

In June, hundreds of irises and other flowers bloom decorating the many ponds and the artificial lake inside the plot.

Heian shrine of Kyoto

Photo by: Lucio Maurizi Looking for a place to relax?

Other events and nearby

Heian Shrine also hosts the Jidai Matsuri, a must-see festival dedicated to the history of Kyoto, every year on Oct. 22, the anniversary of the foundation of the old capital. For more details about the shrine, you can check their official website (Japanese).

Just west of the shrine, past Okazaki Park, you will find the National Museum of Modern Art of Kyoto, the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art and Miyako Messe. The latter is a large convention center hosting permanent art exhibitions as well as areas dedicated to traditional crafts and architecture.

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Things To Know

Schedule and fees

Heian Shrine is open every day from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. No entrance fee is required to enter the shrine grounds. However, if you wish to visit the Heian Shrine Garden, you will need to pay an admission fee of  ¥600. You can visit the garden from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How To Get There


97 Okazaki Nishitennōchō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 606-8341, Japan

By train

The closest train station to Heian Shrine is Higashiyama station on the Tozai line. From this station, you’ll need to walk approximately 10 minutes to reach the shrine.

By bus

From JR Kyoto station, take the Kyoto City Bus #5, or Raku Bus #100. You’ll need to get off at Okazaki Park Art Museum (Heian Jingu station). Walk northbound for 5 minutes. The whole route should take approximately 30 minutes.

From Hankyu Kawaramachi station, take the Kyoto City Bus #5, or #46, or #32. Get off at Okazaki Park Art Museum (Heian Jingu station) Or at Okazaki Park Romu Theatre Kyoto (Miyako Messe Mae). Then walk northbound for 5 minutes. The whole route should take you approximately 20 minutes.

From Gion/Kiyomizudera Temple, take the City Bus #201, or #203, or #206. Get off at Higashiyama Nijo station then walk 5 minutes eastbound. Alternatively, you can take the Raku Bus #100 and get off at Okazaki Park Art Museum (Heian Jingu station). Then walk northbound for 5 minutes. The whole route from Kiyomizudera Temple should take you approximately 25 minutes.

Where To Stay

Guest House Kobako
  • Sakyo-ku Okazaki Minami-Gosho-machi 40-10 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8334
  • 8.8/10
  • 0.2 km
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Kabuki Ann
  • Sakyo-ku Okazaki Tennoucho 13 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8335
  • 9.6/10
  • 0.3 km
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Neneko House
  • Sakyo-ku Shogoin Entomicho 22-12 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8323
  • 9.2/10
  • 0.4 km
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Nanako House
  • Sakyo-ku Shogoin Entomicho 22-11 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8323
  • 8.2/10
  • 0.4 km
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