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Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

Top Attractions in Japan 768
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, located northwest of Kyoto, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built over 1,000 years ago. To commemorate Sugawara no Michizane, an influential scholar and politician during the Heian period (794 AD-1185 AD), the emperor built the shrine in 947 to pray for the peace of the country. Since then, everyone, from royal nobles to samurai, pray at this highly respected shrine.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is the first to dedicate real person in Japanese history. Sugawara no Michizane known for many values, including god of agriculture, god of honesty and sincerity, god of dispelling false accusations, and god of performing arts. However, Sugawara no Michizane is the most widely known as the god of academics because he started singing Waka as early as 5 years old and writing Chinese poetry at 11 years old.

The Tenjin faith, of being as intellectually talented, spreads all over Japan. There are about 12,000 shrines dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane in Japan, and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is both the birthplace and headquarter of these shrines. Therefore, the students who want to pass exams or improve their skills would pray at this shrine.


What to See in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

The worship hall in front is connected to the main hall by a corridor called Ishi-no-Ma Hall. The main shrine, worship hall, and Ishi-no-Ma Hall each have a different roof, together forming a beautiful roof. This unique architectural style composed of multiple buildings is called Yatsumune-Zukuri (multi-building construction). The shrine was built by Toyomi Hideyori in the twelfth year of the Keicho era (1607 AD) with the same architectural style, and it is now recognized as a national treasure.

In the shrine, there are many other point of interests worth seeing. It is one of the best plum-blossom viewing destinations in the country. The Bai-en (ume garden) will open to the public during the best season to visit Kyoto - plum blossom season. On the plum blossom festival on February 25, Maiko and Geisha from Kamishichiken will hold a tea party to the visitors.

During maple leaves season, you can head to Momiji-en (autumn maple garden), which has been planted with 350 maple trees. You will also find remains of Odoi, built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the center of Kyoto. As a result, it is recognized as a national historical site which smoothly integrating historical culture and nature are integrated. In addition, on the 25th of each month, a market called Tenjin-san's Festival will be held near the shrine. 

Houmotsuden (Treasure House) has been respected by the royal family, warriors, and merchants for more than a thousand years since its establishment. Many treasures are preserved here. Among them, the most remarkable is the "Illustrated Scroll of the Origin of Kitano Tenjin", the origin and masterpiece of painted scrolls in Japan. For that reason, it is recognized as a national treasure and a valuable historical property. In addition, Houmotsuden collects many valuable artifacts such as ancient documents, swords, maki, screens, and tea sets.

How to Get to Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
Admission: 800 yen for adults; 400 yen for junior high school students; 250 yen for elementary school students; free for preschooler
Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-8386
Hours: 9:00~17:00
Admission: Free

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Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine Tours

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Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the opening hours of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine?
    Opening hours: 9: 00~17: 00 every day. The open hours during the period of the illumination of the Momiji-en (autumn maple garden): 9:00-20:00.
  • How much is the admission fee to Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine?
    Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine is free to visit. For visiting Houmotsuden (Treasure House), opens to the public on the 25th of each month, the ticket is 800 yen for adults; 400 yen for junior high school students; 250 yen for elementary school students; free for preschoolers.
  • Can I see Geisha when visiting Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine?
    Every year on February 25 during the Plum Blossom Festival, Maiko and Geisha from Kamishichiken will hold a tea party at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine and provide matcha and desserts to visitors.
  • Is Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine the only place dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane?
    No, there are about 12,000 shrines dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane in Japan. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is both the birthplace and the headquarter of these shrines.
  • How much is the admission fee to Tenjin-san's Festival?
    Tenjin-san's Festival is open free to the public. On the 25th of every month, a market called "Tenjin-san's Festival" will be held near the shrine from 6 am to 9 pm, attracting many visitors.
  • What is the etiquette for visiting Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine?
    Etiquette during visit:
    Before visiting, "Customs on Hand Washing"
    Basics of Visiting 1: "Ringing the Bell"
    Basics of Visiting 2: "Bow Twice, Clap Twice, Bow Once"
  • What other attractions are worth visiting near Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine?
    Near Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, there are Daitokuji Temple, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Ryoanji Temple, and Ninnaji Temple, all of which are popular attractions.
  • How to get to Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine by public transportation?
    Take Kyoto City Bus # 50 / # 101 from Kyoto Station to Kitano Tenmangumae, and you will reach the entrance of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine. The whole trip takes about half an hour.
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