Imamiya-Jinja Shrine was built in the Heian Era (794–1185) to protect the capital from plagues. However, ever since the Kamakura Era (1185–1333), the shrine fell into disuse, and was finally burnt down in the Onin War (1467–1477). After the Onin War, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, presented the shrine with a mikoshi (portable shrine) wishing the shrine's restoration.
However, Imamiya-Jinja Shrine's restoration did not start in full-scale until the Edo Era (1603–). It is said that Otama, 3rd Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu's wife, pushed ahead on the plan of rebuilding the shrine. (*Otama was not from a wealthy family, but gained a lot of power after she gave birth to Tsunayoshi, the 5th Tokugawa shogun. She later changed her name to Keishou-in, and is now known to many by that name.) Since Otama was the one who rebuilt Imamiya-Jinja Shrine, the shrine is also known as "Tama-no-Koshi Shrine", which is why the shrine is believed to bring good relationships. (*In Japanese, "Tama-no-Koshi" means to get married to a wealthy man.)
This shrine is also known for its unique festival, the "Yasurai-festival", which is one of the three most eccentric festivals in Kyoto. At this festival, little, red and black demons dance around the Hanagasa (a type of conical hat adorned with flowers) wishing for longevity and the protection from plague. (*The reason why the Hanagasa is in the middle, is because people believed that when the cherry blossoms fall, diseases will be spread by the fairy of flowers.) It is said that going under the Hanagasa will help prevent bad luck. Therefore, many people including tourists go under the Hanagasa to wish for luck. The "Yasurai-festival" is held on the second Sunday in April.
Bus: Imamiya-Jinja-Mae Stop of the Kyoto City bus
Image Gallery: Imamiya-jinja Shrine
Description: Imamiya-jinja Shrine
|Sights||Imamiya-jinja Shrine (今宮神社)|
21,Murasaki-no-Imamiya-chou, Kita-ku, Kyoto
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 075-491-0082 / Fax: 075-491-8944|
|Closed dates||7 days open|
|Admission Fee||Free admission|
Spring (March - May)Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
|Recommended target||Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller|
Map: Imamiya-jinja Shrine