Culture Kinki | Kyoto Sightseeing

Kitano-Tenmangu, The God of Study Shrines in Kyoto

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Kyoto is a traditional contemporary city surrounded by more than 3000 shrines and temples which is very attractive for both domestic and international tourists. Are you looking for an old and unique historical shrine in Kyoto? Look no further than Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine.

entrance of Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine in KyotoThe main entrance of Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine

More than 1000 years ago, a shrine named Kitano-Tenmangu located in the northwest area of Kyoto was built by the Emperor in honor of Sugawara No Michizane, a scholar and politician who brought the principles of peace to the nation during the middle of Heian period (794 AD – 1185 AD).

entrance of Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto is well known for many godsThe Ro-Mon Gate, the main gate of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine is the first and main shrine over around 12.000 shrines dedicated to Sugawara No Michizane for his reputation as a poet, or even more as a highly talented person who brought the “Tenjin Faith” throughout Japan. Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine is also famous for the first shrine which actualized a person who was enshrined as a deity. It is well known for these Gods: “God of Agriculture”, “God of Honesty and Sincerity”, “God of Dispelling False Accusations”, “ God of Performing Arts”, and lastly, “God of Academics”.

Almost every day you can see a lot of students who come and pray in the main shrine. Their beliefs towards the “God of Academics” leads them to visit this shrine. Students who came here usually pray for the passing of examinations (with a great score!) and for their success in their endeavours. In addition, there are also some people who wishes that their ability will be improved when visiting this shrine. There is no fee to visit the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, except for the Treasure House which has a view of the Ume blossom garden (Japanese Apricot) and trees that bloom seasonally. For this autumn season, you have to pay 300 yen to enter into the house, and of course it offers a special price for students at 250 yen.
ox statue at Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine in KyotoVisitors are touching the horn and body of the ox statue

When you enter the main gate you will see a lot of taxis stopped there. Well, Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine is considered as a must-see shrine in Kyoto due to its history and unique building constructed by Toyotomi Hideyori. You will see a number of oxen statue along the approach road to the shrine. Historically, the ox is the birth symbol of Sugawara No Michizane, furthermore, an ox carriage was used to bring the corpse of Sugawara to be buried, but suddenly the ox fell to its knees and refused to continue transporting the corpse. This resulted in the corpse being buried in the nearby temple at that time. The statue of an ox in this shrine is also said to be have healing properties. When you touch the head or horns of the kneeling statue, it will enlighten and vitalize your brain. Moreover, if you touch the body, any illness that you have in the part where you touched will be cured.chozuya hand wash in Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine in KyotoChozuya, a hand washing site near the main Ro-Mon Gate

Visitors always question why every time they enter into a shrine or temple, they see an area where Japanese people always clean their hands before entering to the main area of a shrine or temple. That is called Chozuya. The washing of the hands is a purification ritual (Misogi). It is believed that sins and taints that were done by a person unintentionally will be purified by dipping into rivers or oceans. You will enjoy visiting Kitano Tenmangu Shrine because you don’t need to pay anything and yet you can enjoy a traditional, old and elegant construction with a different atmosphere. No need to worry about the location, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is easily accessed by any kind of transportation.

Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine entrance in Kyoto

There are some recommendations for you who plan to start your trip from Kyoto Station:

  • By Bus: Take the bus number 50 or 101 (around 45 minutes), stop at Kitano-Tenmangu Mae and walk around 3 minutes from the bus stop.
  • By Train: Choose JR Sagano Line for Sonobe, stop at Uzumasa and go to Katabiranotsuji, take Randen Kitano Line for Kitanohakubaicho, and stop in Kitanohakubaicho, then walk around 5 minutes. It will take around 40 minutes using the train because you need to transfer to another train and stop at some stations.
  • By Taxi (Do not worry about looking for a taxi after visiting this Shrine, because almost every day and every time a lot of taxis stop in front of the main gate.

Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine is open every day officially from 09:00 to 17:00, and there is a monthly flea market every 25th along the way to this shrine and you can enjoy a different atmosphere there. There are around 4 very traditional buildings inside the shrine, surrounded by beautiful garden and trees. Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine offers you a very unique sight for your trip. Don’t miss it!

    
Name Kitano Tenmangu
Category Shrine
Address 931 Bakuro-cho, Kyoto 602-8386, Kyoto Prefecture
Access
931 Bakuro-cho, Kyoto 602-8386, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours 09:00 - 17:00
Price Range Free
Payment options