Kamigamo Shrine is one of Kyoto’s most well-known shrines, but when you think of visiting shrines with kids, you worry they will be bored, right? At Kamigamo Shrine, there are many things for kids to enjoy. They can enjoy through various senses like sight, touch, and taste. Just thinking about it is exciting. This time we will share with you the best parts of Kamigamo Shrine.
About Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto
Kamigamo Shrine is the oldest shrine in Kyoto and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of Kyoto’s Cultural Assets. On the grounds are several national treasures and important cultural assets, it’s hard to see it all even if you stay all day. With a river flowing through the shrine grounds which kids can enjoy wading in, Kamigamo Shrine is a place that is enjoyable for parents and kids alike.
1. Wide open space means a more relaxing visit
The grounds of Kamigamo Shrine are very spacious. The openness of the area on the road leading up to the torii gate is perfect for walking along with kids. Within the premises there are over 60 structures and power spots, so we recommend you really take your time to see the shrine. The sound of the river flowing through the grounds is relaxing and as you stroll through the area you will forget your stress as you breathe in the fresh air.
2. See the sacred white horse
At Kamigamo Shrine there is a white horse which can only be ridden by gods. On January 7 this sacred white horse walks around the shrine grounds in an event called Hakubasouranjinji (performance of the divine white horse). It is said that if you lay eyes on the sacred horse at the beginning of the year then you will be protected from bad things for the year. You can see the sacred horse on Sunday, national holidays, the first of each month, and on festival days. You should definitely try to visit Kamigamo Shrine on a day when you can see the sacred white horse.
3. River Wading in Hot Months
There is a small river stream to the right of the main torii gate called Nara-no-ogawa. Nara-no-ogawa is so clear that fireflies live near it. In the hot months you can enjoy wading in the river water. It is shallow, only 10 – 30 cm deep, so it`s safe to let kids play in it. There is a lot of shade from nearby trees around the river, so parents can take a break in the shade while kids enjoy playing. If you plan on enjoying water play, be sure to pack swimsuits and/or a change of clothes for after!
4. Finding different power spots
There are many power spots at Kamigamo Shrine. Sand mounds shaped like cones called Tatezuna are said to be where gods have come down and stood. Worshipers can purchase their own “clean sand” at the shrine. The most sacred spot in the shrine is a boulder which is said to be the pathway from the gods to human hearts. There is also a wishing stone and it is believed that if you make a wish while rubbing it, your wish will come true. There are other power spots within the grounds, so we hope you will try finding them while taking a stroll with your family.
5. Take a stroll around Kamigamo village
Along the Myojingawa River which runs from Kamigamo Shrine, there is a row of houses known as Shakemachi. These were the houses of Shinto priests and they have been around since the Muromachi Era. Even now you can see the buildings as they were back then. Now the buildings are being used for ryokan (Japanese style lodging), souvenir shops, restaurants, etc. It is a great place to go for a walk because if you need to take a break, you can just drop into one of the shops for a bit.
6. Try the specialty dish yakimochi
The specialty dish at Kamigamo Shrine is yakimochi. Yakimochi is mochi wrapped around adzuki bean paste, then flattened and grilled. There are shops near the shrine’s entrance where you can buy the treat. There are even shops where you can get some fresh off the grill. It has a sweet, but also a bit of a savory taste and is loved by all ages. It makes a great treat to take back with you, too!
You can spend a day at Kamigamo Shrine and enjoy many things
At the well known Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, there are many spots you can enjoy with kids. You can search for power spots or rest near the shady river and if you are a bit hungry you can have some yakimochi for a snack. It’s fun to plan your day out, isn’t it? Even young kids can enjoy visiting Kamigamo Shrine, so if you have the chance, add this to your list of places to go while in Kyoto.
Kamigamo Shrine Information
- By Bus – Take Bus 4 from Kyoto Station and get off at Kamigamo Jinja Mae or take bus 9 and get off at Kamigamo-goenbashi and walk about 3 minutes.
- From subway Karasuma Line Kitaoji Station – walk about 20 minutes and from Kitayama Station – walk about 15 minutes.
5:30 – 17:00 (some parts open later)
339 Motomachi Kamigamo Kita-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市北区上賀茂元町339
075-781-0011 (only in Japanese)
Some pictures provided by https://photo53.com/