map

Kifune Shrine

icon-location-red

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

180 Kuramakibunechō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1112, Japan

Opening Hours

6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

JPY 300

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Krishan
Local tour guide
"Visit Kifune Shrine in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds and experience the serene atmosphere as the sun sets, casting a magical light through the trees. Don't forget to try kawadoko, the unique riverside dining experience available at local restaurants nearby, particularly refreshing during Kyoto's hot summers."

What is Kifune Shrine?

Kifune Shrine, nestled in the verdant mountains of northern Kyoto, is a Shinto sanctuary famed for its spiritual ambiance and deep connection with water. It's enshrined deity is believed to be the god of water and rain, making it a place where many visitors come to pray for rain, good harvests, and to find divination through water. The approach to the shrine is a picturesque path lined with traditional lanterns, which creates an enchanting atmosphere, especially during evening hours when the lanterns are lit.

Our Most Popular Tour:

All-Inclusive
Cozumel Scenic Island Exploration Tour

Cozumel Scenic Island Exploration TourEmbark on a picturesque journey through Cozumel's most breathtaking and enchanting sights with our Cozumel Scenic Isla...

US$119/pp Learn more

The shrine is divided into three separate precincts, with the main shrine, Yui-no-shrine, and Oku-no-shrine each providing a unique spiritual experience. An iconic feature of Kifune Shrine is the "Mizu-ura Mikuji", a special fortune-telling strip that reveals your fortune when dipped in water. This unique aspect draws both the faithful and the curious alike, adding to the shrine's mystique.

History of Kifune Shrine

According to legends, Kifune Shrine's origins date back about 1,600 years when a goddess purportedly traveled up the Kamo River from Osaka and chose this site for its spiritual power emanating from the waters. The exact founding date remains a mystery; however, it is believed to be one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. Historically, Kifune Shrine has been a place of significance for the imperial court and has played an essential role in prayers for rain, a critical aspect of agricultural society.

Over the centuries, Kifune Shrine has been patronized by members of the imperial family and aristocracy. It's mentioned in various literary works, including the "Makura no Soshi" (The Pillow Book) by Sei Shonagon, which indicates its importance in Japanese culture. The shrine has been rebuilt several times due to fires and natural disasters, with several renovations having kept its structures in pristine condition.

Why is Kifune Shrine Important?

Kifune Shrine holds a vital place in the hearts of the Japanese people because of its long history and its association with water, an indispensable natural resource. Water is regarded as a source of life and sustenance, and the shrine's deity, Takaokami-no-kami, symbolizes this reverence. It is not just a religious site but also a cultural icon, representing the intricate relationship between Japan's natural environment and its spiritual traditions.

The shrine is equally important for its contribution to the development of Japanese cuisine. The rituals and celebrations fostering the connection with water led to the popularization of "Kawadoko", a culinary practice where meals are served on platforms built over the flow of the river. Enjoying dishes on these platforms during summer not only provides relief from the heat but also creates a multisensory dining experience closely tied with Kifune Shrine.

Things to Do & See at Kifune Shrine

When visiting Kifune Shrine, take your time to stroll the lantern-lined approach, where each step takes you deeper into a realm of tranquility away from the bustle of Kyoto city life. The main shrine is a sight to behold, with its unique architecture and vermilion-lacquered railings that vibrantly contrast with the surrounding greenery. You'll want to partake in the Mizu-ura Mikuji for an unconventional fortune-telling experience, where your fortune emerges upon the paper meeting water—a tradition exclusive to this shrine.

Our Top Trending Indonesia Tours:

  • All-Inclusive

    Uluwatu Instagram Tour: Unforgettable Beaches

    US$114/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Bali VIP Ultimate Spa Experience & Tanah Lot Temple Visit

    US$159/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    VIP Private Boat to Nusa Penida: Snorkeling with Mantas + Land Tour

    US$1299 Learn more

If you're here between May and September, you can indulge in the Kawadoko experience mentioned earlier, where freshly prepared meals can be savored on platforms beside the murmuring Kibune River. Be sure to visit the Oku-no-shrine, which is a bit of a climb but well worth it for the panoramic views and the lesser crowded space for reflection. And don't miss out on the seasonal festivities; especially picturesque is the Kifune Matsuri held in May when the shrine and its surroundings are brought to life with traditional performances and vibrant decorations.

For photography enthusiasts and romantics, visiting Kifune Shrine in the evening when the lanterns are illuminated is a must. The enchanting glow provides an otherworldly allure to the shrine complex. And, if you visit in winter, you may be lucky enough to witness the shrine blanketed in snow—another momentous occasion that transforms Kifune Shrine into a snow-laden wonderland.

Frequently asked questions

What is Kifune Shrine and why is it famous?

Kifune Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in the northern mountains of Kyoto. It is famous for its picturesque setting, especially its stairway lined with lanterns, and for being dedicated to the god of water. It is also known for its unique method of divination using mizu-ura, where visitors can float special paper on water to reveal their fortune.

How do I get to Kifune Shrine from central Kyoto?

To reach Kifune Shrine from central Kyoto, you can take the Eizan Electric Railway from Demachiyanagi Station to Kibuneguchi Station. From there, a local bus or a short taxi ride will take you to the shrine's entrance.

What is the best time of year to visit Kifune Shrine?

The best time to visit Kifune Shrine is either in late spring, when the lush greenery gives it a mystical atmosphere, or in autumn, when the colorful foliage creates a stunning backdrop. Additionally, evenings in summer are a good time to visit due to the traditional lanterns illuminating the staircase.

Are there any festivals or special events at Kifune Shrine?

Kifune Shrine hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Kifune Matsuri in May, a summer festival in July, and the Kurabe-uma Equestrian Archery ritual in November. These events feature traditional ceremonies, parades, and cultural performances.

Can I eat at Kifune Shrine?

While you cannot eat inside Kifune Shrine itself, there are several traditional Japanese restaurants nearby, known as kawadoko, that offer dining experiences on platforms above the flowing river during the summer months, allowing for a unique and refreshing dining experience in close proximity to the shrine.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

180 Kuramakibunechō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1112, Japan

Opening Hours

6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

JPY 300

Find it on google maps