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Yasaka Shrine

Observe traditional Shinto architecture, pretty lanterns and sacred rituals at this historic shrine, home of the annual Gion Festival and Kyoto’s favorite cherry blossom park.

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 some of the most popular things to do:

If you're looking for even more activities, have a look at our Kyoto things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Yasaka Shrine


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Best Lodging Options Near Yasaka Shrine

See all 2,712 Properties near Yasaka Shrine
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto ¥7,688
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. Toji Temple and Shijo Omiya are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

    CROSS HOTEL KYOTO ¥9,818
    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.

      Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery ¥13,818
      Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

      Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

      84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Higashiyama, 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.

        The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo ¥8,777
        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.

          Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto ¥8,719
          Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

          Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

          15 Nishi-Iwamotocho, Higashi-kujo, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Higashi Honganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kujo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Station is 5 minutes.

            Park Hyatt Kyoto ¥70,000
            Park Hyatt Kyoto

            Park Hyatt Kyoto

            360 Kodaiji Masuyacho, Higashiyama, Kyoto
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hokanji Temple and Kodaiji Temple. Kiyomizu Temple and Gion Corner are also within 15 minutes. Higashiyama Station is 19 minutes by foot and Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 16 minutes.

              APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT ¥5,455
              APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT

              APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT

              555, Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Gion, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gion Corner, Kiyomizu Temple, and Heian Shrine. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Tower are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 5 minutes by foot and Kyoto Kawaramachi Station is 8 minutes.

                Kyoto Granbell Hotel ¥9,219
                Kyoto Granbell Hotel

                Kyoto Granbell Hotel

                27 Yamatocho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  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.