The symbol of Heian Jingu Shrine is its large red torii gate. It is a representative tourist spot in the Okazaki area. Here are the reasons why Heian Jingu Shrine is recommended from a mother’s perspective. In addition to Heian Jingu Shrine, there are many spots in the surrounding area that you can enjoy with your children!
What is Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto?
Heian Jingu Shrine, which is relatively new compared to other places in the ancient capital of Kyoto, is a shrine built to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the relocation of the capital to Heian (in present day Kyoto). In the past, Kyoto was the center of Japan, but since the capital was moved to Tokyo, the people of Kyoto were in deep sadness. Heian Jingu Shrine was built with the hope and enthusiasm of the citizens. Heian Jingu Shrine, a symbol of hope and enthusiasm, is recreated by shrinking down “Heian-kyo”, the capital of Kyoto. Here are some recommended points of Heian Jingu Shrine to enjoy with your children.
Reason 1: The Landmark Otorii(Big Torii Gate)
The first thing you will notice when heading to Heian Jingu Shrine is the “Otorii”, a big torii gate. At 24 meters high and 18 meters wide, the vermilion painted torii gate will surely delight both adults and children. This torii gate, which is also a Registered Tangible Cultural Property of the country, was built in 1928 as a commemorative project for the Emperor Showa. After passing through this torii gate, you will be excited as you continue about 300 meters before arriving at the Heian Jingu Shrine’s Oten-mon, which will be introduced next!
Reason 2: Oten-mon Drifting in Style
As you go through the Otorii gate, you will arrive at the “Oten-mon” painted in red, which combines grandeur and elegance. Oten-mon is the Shin-mon (God’s gate) that is a replica of the south main gate of the official government office Chodo-in which was an important building related to Heiankyo’s political affairs. In a space as if you had slipped back in time at once, you can feel a sense of Japan and maybe even a sense of nervousness.
Reason 3: White Gravel Illuminating the Whole Area
From the impressive Oten-mon gate to the shrine grounds, you’ll see eye-catching small white gravel and vermilion-painted buildings. The contrast between white, vermilion, and the blue of the sky is like a piece of art unique to Heian Jingu Shrine. In addition, this white gravel is spread all over the shrine grounds, and has a special meaning to cleanse around God. This is a special space where you can experience both rigor and delicacy. For a child, seeing such a landscape will enrich their mind.
Reason 4: Important Cultural Property – Daigokuden
Finally you have reached the main building of Heian Jingu Shrine, Daigokuden. Heiankyo’s official government office, Chodo-in, is reproduced at a scale of 5/8. Chodo-in housed the emperor’s throne and was also the location of important national ceremonies during the Heiankyo period. The size and magnificence of Daigokuden are impressive, but you can imagine that Heiankyo at that time was even larger.
Reason 5: “Shinen” to Enjoy the Nature of the Seasons
The Heian Jingu Shrine surrounds the shrine in a migratory style and consists of four gardens: south, west, middle and east. Its size is about 3.3 hectares! Shin-en is designated as a National Scenic Spot, and you can feel something different depending on the season. Many turtles and carp can be seen swimming in the large pond, and small children will be happy. A visit to Shin-en costs 600 yen for adults and 400 yen for children.
Reason 6: “Soryu-rou (tower)” Consisting of five tower gates
“Soryu-rou” extends to the east, right from Daigokuden. This Soryu Tower is also designated as an Important Cultural Property of the country. The name Soryu is the same as one of the four gods which are said to have protected Kyoto. The others are Byakko, Suzaku, and Genbu. Perhaps you can feel something spiritual when visiting this place.
Reason 7: “Jidai Matsuri”, One of the Three Major Festivals in Kyoto
Famous as one of the three major festivals that represent Kyoto, “Jidai Matsuri” is a festival at Heian Jingu Shrine. The main event of this festival is a parade displaying traditional costumes of each era of Japanese history. The procession that recreates the customs of the times from the Enryaku to the Meiji era is reminiscent of the good old city of Kyoto, and both children and adults are sure to enjoy an annual time slip! It is held every year on October 22, the day of the capital relocation.
Please see here about the festivals:
Reason 8: Nearby Spots to Enjoy
Heian Jingu is a place where you can enjoy the history of Japan, but there are many spots for children to enjoy around the area as well! Please drop by some of these places if your children are tired of visiting shrines.
Kyoto Handicraft Center
At Kyoto Handy Craft Center, you can experience making traditional Kyoto crafts. There are a total of 9 types, including painting on a folding fan, making a top piece, and mixing Shichimi.
Rental cycle with child seat
You can rent a bicycle with a child seat at Tsutaya Bookstore in Okazaki, Kyoto. Why don’t you try riding a bicycle with your children in the streets of Kyoto?
See here for more information on bicycle rental:
Starbucks Coffee at Tsutaya Bookstore
There is a Starbucks Coffee in the Tsutaya bookstore in Okazaki. The three-story store is often has many customers with children. It is a perfect place to take a break because you can enjoy the cafe without worrying about the surroundings even if your children are lively.
There is a zoo loved by Kyoto citizens in the same Okazaki area as Heian Jingu Shrine. Children from all over the world love animals.
See also Kyoto City Zoo:
Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto is a Great Place to Go with Kids
We recommend going to Heian Jingu Shrine with your family and enjoying it with your children as introduced above. But if your children are tired, bored, or you would just like to have fun with adults alone, consider using Kyoto with Kids Babysitting or Kyoto with Kids Club.
Heian Jingu Shrine Information
- From JR Kyoto station: take the city bus 5, Raku bus 100, or 110 to “Okazaki Koen, Bijutsukan, Heian Jingu mae” and it is a 5 minute walk to the north
- From Hankyu Kawaramachi Station: take the city bus 5, 46, or 32 to “Okazaki Koen, Bijutsukan, Heian Jingu mae” or “Okazaki Koen, Rohm theater Kyoto, Miyako Messe mae” and it is a 5 minute walk to the north
- From Gion, Kiyomizu Temple direction: take the city bus 201, 203, or 206 to “Higashiyama Nijo, Okazaki Koen guchi” and it is a 5 minute walk to the east
- By subway: take the Tozai Line and get off at “Higashiyama Station” and it is about a 10 minute walk
97 Nishitenno-cho Okazaki Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi
- All night Dec 31 until 8:00pm on Jan 1
- from 6:00am to 7:30pm on Jan 2 and 3
- from 6:00am to 6:30pm on Jan 4 to 6
- from 6:00am to 5:30pm on Feb 15 to Mar 14
- from 6:00am to 6:00pm on Mar 15 to Sep 30
- from 6:00am to 5:30pm on Oct 1 to Oct 31
- from 6:00am to 5:00pm on Nov 1 to Feb 14