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Kamigamo Shrine, Kyoto: 1 reviews and 4 photos
Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine are known as the Kamo Shrines together. Kamigamo Shrine was one of the first shrines built after Kyoto was made the capital of Japan, and the Kamo Shrines have remained among the top shrines in the nation ever since. The Heian Court designated them among the twenty-two shrines that the Imperial Court made offerings at.
The shrine is famous among visitors for the two large sand cones (tatesuna) with pines sticking up. There are different theories about what they symbolize. Often it is said that they represent the Koyama Mountains. Some take it further, pointing out that sand is often used in purification, and there are theories that suggest the pair of mounds is significant as a yin and yang symbol or that they represent the space where the gods are believed to land, with a piece of the pines from the mountain sticking up. It is likely that there is some truth to each story.
The shrine grounds are really pleasant to walk around and usually not very crowded. The bridge in front of the honden creates a beautiful scene (surprisingly I have no pictures of it!) . There are also many festivities that take place here throughout the year. I was lucky enough to see Kemari (Shinto "football") played here.
Entrance to the shrine grounds are free however, around 9:30 am they often offer tours inside the shrines honden for 500 yen. Since most shrines are not open to the public, it is a great opportunity to be able to go inside a shrine. They speak in Japanese, of course, but it's still a great experience.
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