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Even in a city famous for its magnificent shrines, Yasaka Shrine is a standout destination in Kyoto. Also known as Gion Shrine or Yasaka Jinja, Yasaka Shrine dates back over 1,350 years and is the much-celebrated site of the annual Gion Festival. Visit Yasaka Shrine to appreciate its beautiful architecture, fascinating traditions and to pray for a little good fortune of your own.
Enter the Yasaka Shrine grounds via the main entrance and you’ll see a lavishly decorated dance stage lit with picturesque lanterns. A purification trough is situated to the side of the stage. You can rinse your hands at the trough by filling a ladle with water and pouring a little water on both hands before tipping the ladle forward, so that the remaining water rinses the handle. Spot the wreaths of “omikuji,” fortune-telling paper slips that predict good or bad luck. You might see a “shimenawa,” a straw rope strung with paper zigzags that represents the boundary of the sacred space.
Walk to the main hall to see the offering box. If you’d like to make an offering, throw a coin into the box, followed by giving two deep bows, two handclaps, a further bow and a prayer.
In July, Yasaka Shrine becomes the site of the Gion Matsuri, a spectacular festival that began in A.D. 869. During the month-long festival, many rituals and traditions are upheld in order to pray for the healthy life of the community and to appease vengeful spirits. Hundreds of participants visit the shrine for each event, including a festive float.
Another good time to visit the shrine is during cherry blossom season in spring. The Maruyama Park, situated adjacent to the shrine, is one of the best spots in the city to see the stunning pink-and-white blooms.
Yasaka Shrine is open daily and has an entry free. It is accessible via bus from Kyoto Station within 20 minutes. Gion Shijo Train Station is also nearby. For a scenic walking route, try the 30-minute stroll from Kiyomizudera through the alleys of the Higashiyama District to Yasaka Shrine.
It's worth giving yourself loads of time at Yasaka Shrine. Below are the best activities:
Peruse our Kyoto things to do page to learn about even more activities while you're here.
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.
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.
Located in Higashikujo Nishisannocho, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto TERRSA and Kyoto Tower. Higashi Honganji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is only a 5-minute walk and Jujo Station is 15 minutes.
Located in Gion, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Yasaka Shrine, Gion Corner, and Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre. Kawaramachi and Pontocho are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 5 minutes by foot and Kyoto Kawaramachi Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Gion, this ryokan is within a 10-minute walk of Yasaka Shrine, Gion Corner, and Kawaramachi. Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre and Pontocho are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 12 minutes.
Located in Gion, this ryokan is within a 10-minute walk of Yasaka Shrine and Gion Corner. Kiyomizu Temple and Heian Shrine are also within 1 mi (2 km). Higashiyama Station is 13 minutes by foot and Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 10 minutes.
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.
Located in Gion, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Yasaka Shrine and Nishiki Market. Kodaiji Temple and Hokanji Temple are also within 15 minutes. Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is only a 3-minute walk and Sanjo Keihan Station is 9 minutes.