One of Kyoto’s most important shrines, Yasaka-jinja Shrine overlooks the Gion entertainment district and sponsors the city’s biggest annual festival: the Gion Matsuri
Yasaka-jinja © Andrea Schaffer
Yasaka-jinja Shrine is considered by some to be the spiritual heart of Kyoto. At the very least, it’s the spiritual heart of the Gion entertainment district, over which it presides with stately grandeur. It’s almost impossible not to visit this gaily painted shrine as it sits right in the middle of the main Southern Higashiyama sightseeing route and it’s just below Maruyama Park, which is the city’s most popular cherry blossom viewing destination.
If you want to see the role that Shinto really plays in the life of Kyotoites, this is the place to come: people flock here for weddings, to get their newborn babies blessed, to pray for love, success or just spend a little time among the beautiful surroundings. Note that with lovely lanterns illuminated at night, this is a great place for an evening stroll. It’s also a great place to go on New Year’s Eve or Day, as long as you don’t mind crowds.
625 Gion-machi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku
1 minute walk from the Gion stop, bus 206 from Kyoto Station. Five minutes’ walk from the Gion-Shijo stop on the Keihan Line.
See hotels near to Yasaka-jinja Shrine on Agoda.com
Official Website (Japanese)
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)