Kyoto’s Heian Shrine (平安神宮)

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Heian Jingu Main Hall. May 2010.

Heian Jingu (平安神宮) is a “new” Kyoto Shinto Shrine, founded and constructed in 1884 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto (then, “Heiankyo”) by Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei, father of the Emperor Meiji who was reigning in the late-1880s (Note:  Emperor Meiji reigned from 1868-1912). Heian Jingu’s designation  as a Jingu, and not a Jinja (a “regular” Shinto Shrine), denotes that it is associated with the Imperial Family.

Heian Jingu on a chilly day. March 1991.

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Omikuji (fortunes) at Heian Jingu. 2003.

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Every June a National Noh Theater Performs at Heian Jingu. June 2003.

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Pine at Heian Jingu. 2008.

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Bride (left) and her mom on their way wedding at Heian Shrine (directly behind), with the Great Gate (大鳥居) in the background.

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Faux Sake Casks (kazaridaru). Hiean Jingu front, for blessing’s sake. 2008.

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Evening at the Great Torii, Heian Jingu Mae Street. 2009.

The Garden

Heian Jingu is famously known for its large garden.  While entrance to the main shrine area is free (see photos above), enjoying the walking behind the building complex will cost you a ¥600 entrance fee and it’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The garden was laid-out by the renowned designer Ogawa Jihei (who designed several of Kyoto’s famous, modern-era gardens) and meant for leisurely, contemplative strolling.  Here are several photos I’ve taken of The Garden from over the years . . .

Heian Jingu’s Garden. October 2001.

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Ogawa used shakkei, “borrowed scenery,” in Heian Jingu’s garden. 1990.

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Yes, that’s a model. Her real photographer stands just to my right. 2001.

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Lilies in a cove of the central koi pond. 2001.

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Sign at the stepping stone bridge. 2001.

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A ticket stub I saved for Heian Jingu’s garden.

Heian Jingu is located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama (Eastern Mountain) area with Reisen Dori (street) running directly in front of it, Marutamachi Dori running along the block behind it, and Okazaki Dori up along side it on its eastern side.  Right where Okazaki Dori intersects Marutamachi Dori at Heian Jingu’s back, northeastern side, you’ll find the Three Sisters Inn Annex, where I’ve stayed countless times and which itself is just a few minutes walk to Kurodani Dera (Temple), Okariba (restaurant) and Hanafusa Coffee Shop.

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Coming up next:  Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku on Michi) -

Along “Philosopher’s Path” (哲学の道), Kyoto. 2003.


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  1. I love that it was built to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto. Heian Jingu has to be one of my favourite spots to visit in Kyoto and I highly recommend it to any visitor.

      • letsjapan
      • June 12th, 2012

      It’s also a great “Central Point,” between Tetsugaku no Michi (which leads on to Ginkaku-ji) and Murin-an (whose garden Ogawa also designed), Shoren-in and Chion-in (which is a gateway to Maruyama Park, which leads to Yasaka-Jinja / Gion). . . . and a whole lot more.

  2. Gorgeous photos!
    The Heian Shrine is really beautiful, especially during cherry blossom season!

      • letsjapan
      • June 12th, 2012

      Agreed (re: cherry blossom season). Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. “Pine at Heian Jingu” is my favorite photo here, although the Heian Jingu garden photo also is beautiful. And I have to smile at the cautionary sign. It makes me feel as though I should bow to someone.

    I’d not heard of omikuji, and was intrigued to find a suggestion that American fortune cookies actually are rooted in Kyoto.

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