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Famous for Matchmaking and Mizuura Mikuji Fortune-telling! How to Enjoy Kyoto’s Kifune Shrine

Kifune Shrine is an old shrine at the source of Kamo River. It is in an area often referred to as the "inner parlor of Kyoto", where the murmur of Kifune River and the rich greenery helps one forget the hot summer. It is not clear when it was established, but legend says that Tamayori-hime (Princess Tamayori, mother of the legendary first emperor of Japan, Jimmu) appeared on a yellow boat that traveled from Osaka Bay up Yodo River and Kamo River, and built a shrine for the water deity at what is now known as Okunomiya. It has been revered by successive emperors as the shrine to pray for rain, and is also famous for its matchmaking benefits. There are three shrines along Kibune River - the Main Shrine, Okunomiya, and Yui no Yashiro - so enjoy the walk while visiting them! Don't forget to get fortune-telling papers that are placed in a small basin of holy water in order to get divine messages from the water deity to appear.<*This information was originally published in Kansai Walker on 08.08.2017>

Receive a Message From the Dragon Deity at a Verdant Old Shrine

Enter through the vermillion shrine gate to the solemn Okunomiya area that is thick with trees.

The Mizu Mamori are said to protect against water-related troubles, as well as help with matchmaking (1,000 JPY/each)

Mizuura Mikuji (200 JPY) are fortune-telling papers that are placed in a small basin of holy water in order to get words to appear.

The sacred water (goshinsui) that flows out of the stone wall is free. There is an original Goshinsui Yoki (Container) available for 300 JPY.

The Goshinsui Ramune (500 JPY/bottle) that was introduced this spring. Quench your thirst with this cold and crisp ramune.

Visit the Three Shrines!

There are no formal rules on how to visit the shrine, but the "sansha mode" where you visit the three shrines in order - Main Shrine to Okunomiya, then finally Yui no Yashiro - has long been popular. Enjoy the visit surrounded by the rich riverside nature of Kibune.

【Main Shrine】This shrine is dedicated to the dragon deity, Takaokami no Kami. With sacred water and katsura trees, the grounds feel sacred. The fortune-telling slips and charms are available here. The stone staircase lined with red wooden lanterns that contrast beautifully with the green trees is famous.

【Okunomiya】Okunomiya, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Main Shrine, is where Kifune Shrine was first founded. It is dedicated to the same deity as the Main Shrine. To the left of the shrine is a pile of rocks that were said to have covered the boat that Tamayori-hime (Princess Tamayori) was in. It is said that they appeared when the shrine was founded, and they are revered by those in the shipping industry.

【Yui no Yashiro】Yui no Yashiro is about midway between Okunomiya and the Main Shrine. It has been known as a shrine for matchmaking since the Heian Period, and is said to have helped the poet, Izumi Shikibu, reconcile with her husband. The Musubifumi (200 JPY) are pieces of paper that you can write your wishes on and tie onto a string to pray for lifelong happiness.

【Omamori Charms】The dragon amulet (right, 500 JPY/each) in the shape of the dragon deity enshrined in the Main Shrine and Okunomiya come in six colors. The amulets at Kajitori Shrine, which is a subordinate shrine of Kifune Shrine, helps protect the progress of one's life and also with safety on the road and sea. It comes in gold or silver. There's also the Kajitori amulet (left, 1,000 JPY).

Phone: 075-741-2016
Hours: 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM (depending on the season) (Office Hours) 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Days Closed: Open all year
Entrance Fee: None to enter the grounds
Parking: 10 spots/Main Shrine, 15 spots/Okunomiya (500 JPY/120 minutes for both)
Year founded: Uncertain
Benefits: Improved fortune, matchmaking, etc.

Kifune Shrine

180 Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Take a Break With Comforting Sweets and a Window Full of Greenery

Kifune Club, which is four minutes on foot from the Main Shrine, is a cafe distinguished by its modern wood building. There is a view of the rich nature along Kibune River from its large windows. There are sweets, such as parfaits, as well as light meals.

The Special Matcha Parfait (1,200 JPY) is made with plenty of high-quality matcha green tea from Uji. It is a satisfying parfait made out of matcha ice cream, matcha warabi mochi, tri-colored kanten agar, and matcha brownies.

One can be healed by the beautiful greenery and Kibune River seen through the windows.

The large windows and high ceilings are liberating.

Phone: 075-741-3039
Hours: 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM (last orders 4:30 PM) *Extended hours when Kifune Shrine is lit up in the evenings.
Days closed: Open unless otherwise specified
Seating: 44
Parking: None

Kifune Club

74 Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Enjoy Soba Noodles With a Fabulous Texture at a Casual Kawadoko Terrace

Soba Denbei, which is two minutes on foot from the Main Shrine, prides itself in its homemade soba noodles and rice pots. The soba noodles have a great texture and aroma, and they also go well with the lightly flavored sauce. In the summer, you can enjoy the soba out on a kawadoko terrace for no extra charge.

The Sansai Soba Set (2,592 JPY) with edible wild plants. Includes simmered vegetables, two small side dishes, rice and pickles.

Enjoy a meal surrounded by Kibune's rich nature and listen to the murmur of the river.

Phone: 075-741-2228
Hours: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
(Weekends, Public Holidays) 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
*Closes when the soba noodles sell out!
Days closed: Open unless otherwise specified
Seating: 34 in the kawadoko terrace, 36 inside
Parking: 2 spots (free)

Soba Denbei

39 Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

A Restaurant With a Great Atmosphere Near the Torii Gate That Serves a Variety of Japanese Food

Toriijaya, which is a minute walk from the Main Shrine, is a restaurant to the side of the front path of the Main Shrine. It has a wide selection of Japanese cuisine, ranging from kaiseki (multi-plate courses) to rice bowls and soba noodles that can be enjoyed casually. The Ayuchazuke (starts from 1,550 JPY) made up of rice in tea with a whole ayu (sweetfish) is a must-try!

The Ayuchazuke (top) (1,950 JPY) with grilled ayu that has been simmered in sauce for a full day so that it is soft to the bone.

There is zashiki seating with views of the garden, as well as table seating.

Phone: 075-741-2231
Hours: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM (reservations required for kaiseki courses)
Days Closed: Tuesdays (open during June - August and November)
Seating: 25
Parking: 4 spots (free)

Toriijaya

49 Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Derived From the Legend of the Founding of Kifune Shrine! Pray for Traffic Safety and Life-long Protection

Kajitori Shrine, which is five minutes on foot from Kibuneguchi Station on the Eizan Railway, is in Kibuneguchi, where the Kibune River and Kurama River merge. It is revered as a protector of travel on both sea and on land, as well as of one's passage through life. It is said to enshrine Kajitori Daijin, the deity that guided the yellow boat Tamayori-hime (Princess Tamayori) traveled in.

There is a great view of rich nature, as well as the flowing river from Kajitori Bridge, which is to the north of Kajitori Shrine.

A small shrine near Kifune Shrine's Ichino Torii gate.

Phone: 0745-741-2016 (Kifune Shrine)
Hours: No restrictions on visits
Entrance fee: None
Parking: None

Kajitori Shrine

Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 08.29.2017]

*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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