Largest City

Heianjingu Shrine

Kyoto’s Palace of Versailles.

Despite the impressive scale of its sacred ground – not to mention its massive torii gate – Heian-jingu’s history is comparably shorter than its ancient capital counterparts. Built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of ‘Heian-kyo’ (the former name of the country’s cultural capital, Kyoto), this monumental shrine takes its design cred straight from the Imperial Palace of the Heian Period.

Heian-jingu Torii Gate in Kyoto.

Walk through the enormous vermillion archway and be blown away by the far-reaching open courtyard of the Heian-Jingu shrine.

While no original buildings remain, the present shrine offers a small-scale idea of the impressive structures of this aristocratic era. Basically it’s the Japanese equivalent of the Palace of Versailles.

Cross the graveled courtyard to the Daigokuden – noted as the shrine’s spiritual hotspot – where visitors can pay their respects and place their hands in prayer to silently make a wish. If you need a bit of luck, stalls around the grounds sell different amulets, or you can try measuring your fate by drawing a paper fortune known as omikuji.

The shrine also houses an attractive Japanese garden featuring plants that appear in the pages of Heian Period classics, such as the weeping cherry tree from The Tale of Genji.

Kyoto, Japan at Heian Shrine's pond in the spring season.

The weeping cherry trees at the Heian-jingu are picture-perfect during cherry blossom season.

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.

For an aesthetic overload, you can combine a trip to the Heian-jingu with a visit to an art gallery. The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art and the National Museum of Modern Art are both nearby.

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How To Get There


Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8341, Japan

By train

Take the Tozai Subway Line to Higashiyama Station (approx. a 10 minute walk).

By bus

From JR Kyoto Station, take Kyoto City Bus 5 to Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae bus stop which conveniently stops near the shrine’s entrance. Alternately, take the Raku 100 bus. Both routes reach Heian-jingu Shrine in approximately 30 minutes.

Where To Stay

Guest House Kobako
  • Sakyo-ku Okazaki Minami-Gosho-machi 40-10 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8334
  • 8.7/10
  • 0.3 km
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Neneko House
  • Sakyo-ku Shogoin Entomicho 22-12 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8323
  • 9.1/10
  • 0.3 km
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Nanako House
  • Sakyo-ku Shogoin Entomicho 22-11 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8323
  • 7.8/10
  • 0.3 km
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  • Sakyo-ku Shogoin Sannocho19-7 Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto 606-8392
  • 0.3 km
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