Walk from the Train Station! Top 5 Spots in Kyoto to Explore via Keihan Railway
This time, we will be introducing spots along the Keihan Electric Railway that you can get to from Tofukuji Station, which is just one stop (around 2 - 3 minutes) away from JR Kyoto Station.
1. Fushimi Inari Taisha
Approx. 4 minutes from Tofukuji Station to Fushimi-inari Station
Fushimi Inari Taisha is a shrine that is famous for the mystical view created by the tunnel of vermillion torii (shrine gate). There are about 30,000 Inari-sha shrines all over Japan that have been attracting worshippers of the deity that provides prosperity in business, huge harvest, safety and well-being of the family, and fulfillment of prayers. Fushimi-Inari Taisha is their head shrine. For 1,300 years, many people have come to worship at this shrine. At the back of the Honden (main shrine), you will see Mt. Inari, a mountain that is said to be where Inari-shin (god of harvest, and the enshrined deity of this shrine) descended to earth. The mountain has become a place for praying, with the entire area worshipped as a holy sanctuary. There is a goshinseki (sacred place where a deity remains) inside the mountains, and the path that surrounds it is lined with about 10,000 torii gates. The tunnel of red gates stretches approximately 4km, and it will take around two hours to walk through all of the gates.
2. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Approx. 3 minutes from Tofukuji Station to Kiyomizu-gojo Station
Over the years, Kiyomizu-dera Temple has gained worshippers from every corner of Japan under the name Kiyomizu no Kannon-san. Opened in 778, this temple is registered as a World Heritage Site. It is believed to grant prayers for things like sound health, success in life, good fortune, good love match, and pregnancy. The biggest highlight of this temple is the Hondo (main hall) that is designated as a National Treasure. It is characterized by the stage that juts out to a steep slope, set against the beauty of every season – sakura (cherry blossoms) in spring, fresh verdure in summer, and momiji (autumn foliage) in the autumn. From this stage, you will be able to enjoy the picturesque view of the town below. Aside from this stage, the grounds of this temple are also dotted with Important Cultural Properties, such as the Nio-mon (main entrance of the temple), Sai-mon (west gate), and the Sanju-no-To (three-storied pagoda). There’s also the Otowa no Taki (Otowa Waterfall), which is the source of the pure water (“kiyomizu” in Japanese, hence its name) that flows at the temple.
3. Yasaka Shrine
Approx. 5 minutes from Tofukuji Station to Gion-shijo Station
Yasaka Jinja (Yasaka Shrine) is a shrine that is located in Kyoto’s popular tourist area, Gion. Although there are various theories surrounding its start, this shrine was established in 656. During the Heian period (794 – 1185), its receipt of offerings from the Imperial Court caused the faith of common people to grow, which helped this shrine become widely worshipped throughout Japan. This shrine is believed to grant wishes pertaining to the warding off of evil, curing illnesses, granting good love matches, helping businesses thrive, and giving good fortune. The Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival) that is held every July is listed as one of the three grandest festivals in Japan. Inside the shrine’s precinct, you will find the Utsukushi Gozensha that enshrines the deity for good fortune, arts, and beauty, as well as Okuninushi-sha Shrine, which is believed to grant prayers for a good marriage.
4. Heian Jingu Shrine
Approx. 15 minutes from Tofukuji Station to Jingu-marutamachi Station
Heian Jingu Shrine was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of Heian Sento (when the capital of Japan was transferred to Heian-kyo (the city that was built in 794, which is now known today as Kyoto City)). Dedicated to Emperor Kanmu and Emperor Komei, this shrine has a huge following as the parent deity of Kyoto, which is considered as the hometown of Japanese culture. The highlights of this shrine are the beautiful vermilion-lacquered structures, such as the Oten-mon gate that is shaped like the original gate of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and the Daigokuden (council hall of the Imperial Palace). Meanwhile, if you go to the Shin-en (garden) that covers a total area of about 33,000sq.m., you will get to enjoy beautiful views every season, such as pink weeping sakura (cherry blossom) flowers in the spring, irises and lilies in early summer, autumn foliage in the autumn, and a snowy landscape in the winter.
5. Shimogamo Shrine
Approx. 13 minutes from Tofukuji Station to Demachiyanagi Station
※Transfer to Tokkyu Ressha (limited express train) from Junkyu (semi-express train)
Official name: Kamomio Jinja
Shimogamo Shrine is registered as a World Heritage Site. Since long ago, it has attracted worshippers for being the place dedicated to the deities of divine guidance and victory. Its two Honden (main shrines) are designated as National Treasures, while its 31 Shaden (shrine building) – such as the Romon (two-storied gate), Maidono (sacred dance hall), and Shinpukuden Hall – are registered as Important Cultural Properties. The sprawling forest called Tadasu no Mori (Forest of Atonement) surrounds these spots. This vast forest that has been preserved since the Jomon period is cool in the summer, and has an air of mystery drifting about it. Inside the shrine’s precinct, you will find several subordinate shrines, including Aioi-sha, which is a shrine for good marriage, and Kawai Jinja, which is a shrine for beauty.
Aside from the above spots, there are many other must-see spots along the railway line. Tofukuji Temple, famous for its autumn leaves, is also situated near Tofukuji Station, so make sure to drop by!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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