Yasaka Jinja is located in Gion, the area famous for maiko-san and geiko-san, and is known for the Gion Matsuri (festival) which takes place every summer. When in Kyoto, this is one spot you definitely don`t want to miss. Known as a popular power spot, we will tell you things to do with kids when you visit Yasaka Jinja.
About Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto
No matter the season, Yasaka Jinja, also known as Gion-san, is visited by tourists from allover Japan. Yasaka Jinja has a long history and has looked over Kyoto for about 1800 years. Known for several power spots, Yasaka Jinja also has several points which can be enjoyed with kids.
1. Headquarters for Gion-sha
Yasaka Jinja in Kyoto is the headquarters for all Yasaka Jinja around Japan as well as shrines which deify Susanoo no Mikoto. Because of that many people from allover the country come here to pray. When you hear that it is the headquarters for 2300 other shrines, don’t you feel it must have a lot of power? Please go and breathe the air with your kids there and see for yourself what you feel.
2. Viewing the Honden
Designated a national important cultural property, the honden at Yasaka Jinja is considered to be a style called Gion-zukuri. The large, beautiful curve of the roof along with the same roof covering both the honden and haiden (hall of worship) which is a rare way for shrines to be built, are just a couple of the things worth seeing.
3. Viewing the Maidono (stage)
Just in front of the honden you will find the maidono which is where many events take place throughout the year. In February you can see maiko-san and geiko-san during the Setsubun Festival (Setsubun is a day symbolizing the change of seasons and people throw beans to ward off bad fortune). In the middle of autumn there is an event to view the full harvest moon and you can hear traditional Japanese instruments being played. You may even sometimes see wedding ceremonies take place on the maidono.
4. Love Fortune Stones
In front of the honden are two stones about 10 meters apart. These are love fortune stones. It is believed that if you can walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed, you will find true love. If someone has to help you get to the other stone, then the same will be true in love and you will need someone’s help to find your true love. It’s a chance to cheer on your child’s dreams of love. Give it a try!
5. Pray for Good Health at Eki-jinja
The deity enshrined here, Somin Shorai is said to have received a chinowa (grass ring) which gave protection from sickness. It is displayed on the main path of the shrine. At the annual Gion Festival you can find Somin Shorai’s name on chimaki (steamed rice wrapped in bamboo leaves). It can’t hurt to stop here to pray for your child’s good health.
6. Beauty at Utsukushi Gozen-sha
Within the grounds of Yasaka Jinja is a subsidiary shrine where people pray to become more beautiful. Popular not only among local maiko-san and geiko-san, women from allover Japan come here to pray for beauty. The water next to the torii gate is known as “beauty water” and it’s said that if you pat just a few drops on your face it will not only make your outward appearance beautiful, but your heart as well. At times you will see quite a long line at the “beauty water” spot. Please stop by and say a prayer with your child to have beautiful hearts.
7. Praying at Akuojisha
In Japanese, aku means “bad” so you may feel a bit strange praying at a shrine with “bad” in its title. However, long ago the meaning wasn’t “bad,” but rather “strong” or “valiant.” It is said that the deity of this shrine can answer many different kinds of prayers. So don`t hesitate to pray for your future, love, your family, etc.
8. Take a Break at Maruyama Park
Once you have seen the grounds of Yasaka Jinja, please go to the park next to the shrine, Maruyama Park. The entire park is considered to be a cultural property. Filled with greenery along with some water, when the cherry blossoms bloom in spring many people visit to see them. From the viewing deck you can see the city of Kyoto from above. It is the perfect spot to take a walk and even a short break with your kids.
The Gion district is one you don`t want to miss when you visit Kyoto. No matter which season you go it is sure to be lively with many visitors. Of course visiting Yasaka Jinja with your kids can be fun, but kids may easily get tired from a lot of walking and the crowds. It would be a shame to miss this spot though. You can leave your kids with us at the Kyoto with Kids Club and go enjoy a more relaxing visit to Yasaka Jinja and the Gion area. And if you would like to visit the Gion area at night, you can use our babysitting services so that you can go out without kids for a few hours in the evening.
Access to Yasaka Jinja
・From Keihan Gion Shijo Station – walk 5 minutes
・From Hankyu Kawaramachi Station – walk 8 minutes
・From JR Kyoto Station – take bus 206 to Gion
Address: Kyoto-shi Higashiyama Ward Gion-cho Kitagawa 625
Hours: 9:00 – 16:00
※Staff availability may vary depending on events or wedding ceremonies taking place