Kamigamo-jinja Shrine

Kamigamo-jinja Shrine © Iry

About Kamigamo Shrine

Officially called "Kamo Wake-Ikazuchi Jinja", the shrine enshrines a deity, Kamo Wake-Ikazuchi-no-Ookami. According to the legend, the deity descended to Mt. Koyama, a divine mountain situated north-northwest of the honden (main Shinto sanctuary) in the Jindai (the mythological age prior to BC660 before Emperor Jin’mu took the throne). During the reign of the Emperor Ten’mu (673-686), the shrine building was constructed in the current location. The shrine has been widely worshiped as the guardian to ward off evil, as the guardian of electricity, as the guardian of victory.

"Wake-Ikazuchi" of Kamo Wake-Ikazuchi-no-Ookami also means a young kaminari (thunder; phonetically pronounced the same as kami (divine) plus nari (making a deep resonant sound)), which represents the ancient Japanese belief in thunder as a deity. The deity has been worshipped as a guard to watch the northeast direction, kimon (the ‘demon’ gate) since the relocation of the capital to Kyoto.

The shrine structure comprising the honden and the gonden (temporary sanctuary to house the deity during the construction/repair of the Shinto main building) has been designated as a National Treasure, and also has been registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

The "Aoi Matsuri" festival, one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, is held jointly with Shimogamo-jinja Shrine in the Kitayama area attended by many spectators. Major events include "Kamo kyokusui-no-en", a festival dating back to the Heian period in which participants sitting along the bank of Kamo River have to compose tankas (a 31-syllable Japanese poem) before the cup of sake made to float along the water reaches their position, and "Nagoshi-no-harae", a Shinto ritual of great purification (o-harae), where people go to the shrine and pass through a chinowa (gate of reed) to get purified of all defilements (kegare) of the past six months in the end of June.


By taxi, it is a 10 minute from the Subway Kita-oji station. By bus, take the City Bus (Kyoto Transportation Bureau) on route 4 from JR Kyoto station to "Kamigamo Misono-bashi" stop, or take the Kyoto Bus from Keihan Demachi-yanagi station to "Kamogamo-jinja" stop.

Image Gallery: Kamigamo-jinja Shrine

Description: Kamigamo-jinja Shrine

Sights Kamigamo-jinja Shrine (上賀茂神社)
Address 339 Kamigamo-motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-781-0011 / Fax: 075-702-6618
Duration 30Minutes
Business Hours Monday:05:30-17:00
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Free admission
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Kamigamo-jinja Shrine