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Heian Shrine

An important shrine for patriotic locals and curious tourists alike, this site has charming buildings and natural gardens that celebrate Kyoto’s fusion of past and present.

The Heian Shrine is a site of simple beauty and reflection. Built in 1895 on the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto, the sanctuary pays homage to spirits of the country’s emperors. It blends artifice with nature in its museums and traditional gardens. Japan has designated the site as an important cultural property and one of the highest-ranking shrines of its kind.

Walk through the majestic Torii gate as you approach the shrine. Take photos of the main buildings, a scaled-down version of the original imperial palace from the Heian epoch. Attend the Jidai Festival, which takes place on October 22 every year, the anniversary of Kyoto’s birth. Enjoy parades of Japanese marchers in traditional dress from assorted historical periods. Weddings, concerts and other events are held throughout the year.

Embrace the Minami Shin’en garden in the south in April to take advantage of the spacious cherry blossom gardens in full bloom. Peruse the grounds’ various plants and ponds. Feed the fish and rare wildlife, including the yellow and Japanese pond turtles. Tread the stone pillar walkway in the middle garden, which is known as Naka Shin’en. Admire the scenery with a backdrop of the Higashiyama hills in the Higashi Shin’en area to the east. There is an admission fee for the gardens.

The Heian Shrine stands in memory of Emperors Kanmu (8th century) and Komei (19th century). They were the first and final leaders to reign from Kyoto. By the entrance stand a couple of attractions, including the Museum of Modern Art and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art.

The shrine is located in the northeastern region of the city. Nearby attractions include the temples of Shinnyodo, Eikando and Nanzen-ji. The Philosopher’s Walk is only a short distance to the east. Bus rides take half an hour from the city’s principal transportation hub, Kyoto Station, to the shrine. Higashiyama Station is less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away on foot.

Make the most of your time at Heian Shrine. Here's a list of some of the best things to do:

Want to make your visit that much more special? A Full-Day Kyoto City Tour and a Kyoto Full-Day Tour are both worth considering.

Examine our Kyoto things to do page to find more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Heian Shrine


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Heian Shrine

See all 2,324 Properties near Heian Shrine
CROSS HOTEL KYOTO ¥13,214
CROSS HOTEL KYOTO

CROSS HOTEL KYOTO

71-1 Daikokucho, Kawaramachi-dori, Sanjo-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Sanjo Keihan Station and Kyoto Sanjo Station are within a 5-minute walk.

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto ¥10,386
    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

      Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery ¥21,818
      Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

      Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

      84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Sanjo, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market and Chion-in Temple. Heian Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km). Sanjo Keihan Station and Kyoto Sanjo Station are within a 2-minute walk.

        Ryokan KANADE ¥15,455
        Ryokan KANADE

        Ryokan KANADE

        1-2, Okazaki Hoshojicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Kyoto, this ryokan is within a 15-minute walk of Heian Shrine and Nanzenji Temple. Kyoto University and Philosopher's Walk are also within 1 mi (2 km). Keage Station is 12 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 14 minutes.

          The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo ¥16,694
          The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

          The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

          74 Nakajimacho,Kawaramachi Higashi-iru, Sanjo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier ¥17,967
            SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier

            SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier

            Nakagyo-ku Kiyamachi-dori Sanjyo Agaru, Kamiosaka-cho 509, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 15 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.

              HOTEL MARUFUKU Kyoto Higashiyama ¥5,728
              HOTEL MARUFUKU Kyoto Higashiyama

              HOTEL MARUFUKU Kyoto Higashiyama

              425 Fukumoto-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Heian Shrine and Gion Corner. Kiyomizu Temple and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km). Sanjo Keihan Station is 6 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 7 minutes.

                Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto ¥8,423
                Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto

                Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto

                410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Honnoji Temple and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.