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[Kyoto ]Let's go here in 2024! 8 temples and shrines to visit in the Year of the Dragon

[Kyoto ]Let's go here in 2024! 8 temples and shrines to visit in the Year of the Dragon


Since ancient times, dragons have been considered lucky creatures with the power to accomplish great things. 2024 is the Chinese zodiac year of the dragon. To make the year 2024 a year full of vitality, why not visit a shrine with a strong connection to dragons? In this article, we will introduce shrines in Kyoto that you should visit in the year of the dragon.

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Fushimi Jinbo Shrine

"Among the shrines in Kyoto, you can see one that is conspicuously associated with dragons: "Fushimi Kandara Shrine ", nicknamed Shinpou-san ", is a shrine that is known as the Fushimi Kandara Shrine. The company name "Shinpo "derives from "Tokusakan dakara ", which is said to have been brought from the heavens by Nigihayahinomikoto, the ancestor god of the Mononobe clan, Rao Hayahi no Mikoto.

This shrine is famous for its komainu (guardian dragons). In front of the main shrine, "the heavenly dragon ""and the earthly dragon "enshrined on the left and right sides warmly welcome visitors. At the left rear of the main hall is a regent shrine "Ryuzusha ", where the Great Dragon Head is enshrined.

The Great Dragon Head is the owner of the "Dragon Ball "that Kaguyahime asked the aristocrats to bring to her suitor in "The Tale of Taketori ". In honor of this, a statue of a dragon head holding a ball in its mouth sits near the Ryuto-sha shrine. It is said that rolling the ball in its mouth while praying will help make your wishes come true, so if you visit, why not give it a try?

In addition, there are a variety of other dragon-related gifts, such as a vermilion seal with a gold dragon seal, an ancient amulet with a motif of a dragon's teeth spitting fire, and a cute dragon fortune. The temple is about a 3-minute walk from the Okusha Shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha, so be sure to visit the temple in combination with Fushimi Inari Taisha.

"More Information "
Address: 15 Fukakusa Sasayama-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto 612-0811
Phone number: 075-642-5838

Takio Shrine

The next shrine we will introduce is "Takio Shrine ", located about a minute walk from Keihan Tofukuji Station. The deities worshipped are Okuninushi no Kami, Benzaiten, and Bishamonten. The shrine is famous as a power spot for improving one's luck in money and work, since Shimomura Hikoemon, the founder of Daimaru Department Store, visited the shrine every day.

The highlight of the temple is the huge dragon set on the ceiling of the worship hall! "The dragon is 8 meters long and was once feared by local residents who said, "He goes to the river every night to drink water. "It is so powerful that the local residents used to fear that the dragon would go to the river at night to drink water.

When the dragon was feared by the neighborhood, a wire net was used to trap the dragon to prevent it from escaping, but now the net has been removed and the dragon can be seen freely. Nowadays, the wire netting has been removed, and visitors are free to view the temple!

In addition to these, many other carvings by Shintaro Kuyama, the Kyoto-based carver who created the dragons on the ceiling, can be seen at the Takio Shrine. From the carvings of what appear to be sacred animals in the front of the main hall, to the A-Un dragons, baku, cranes, phoenixes, long-tailed birds, water birds, and sacred animals such as rhinoceroses and kylins, and the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac in the cloister, all of them are worth seeing.

"More Information "
Residence:〒605-0981 11-718 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Phone number: 075-531-2551

Mamei Shrine

"Manai Shrine "is the inner sanctuary of "Kago-jinja Shrine ", known as "Moto Ise ". It is said that in the ancient time of the Kami period, the shrine was built "to worship Toyoke no Okami (Toyoke no Okami) "and later Amaterasu no Okami was also relocated to the shrine. Later, both deities moved to Ise Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture, and the main shrine was moved to its present location. The company name was changed to Kago-jinja Shrine, and the original location of the Lagen shrine became "Okumiya/Manai-jinja Shrine ".

With such a long history, Manai Shrine is also famous as a shrine with a dragon god. A guardian dragon sits in front of the torii gate at the entrance of the shrine, creating a solemn atmosphere. The two colored balls on the dragon's hand are called "Shio Mitsutama (潮満珠) ""Shio Hirutama (潮乾玉) "and are said to have the power to freely control the ebb and flow of the tide. Touch them and you may receive a blessing!

In addition to the guardian dragons, another highlight of the shrine grounds is "the water of the heavenly manna well ". This water is said to have been brought back from the world of the gods by Amemurakumo no Mikoto, the third generation ancestor of the Kaibe family of Kago-jinja Shrine. This miraculous water can be taken home as drinkable water. When you visit the shrine, please do not forget to bring an empty plastic bottle!

"More Information "
Address: 〒629-2242 Miyazu-shi Aza Ogaki 430
Phone number: 0772-27-0006

Kifune Shrine

"Kibune Shrine "is one of the most famous power spots in Kyoto, home to the three largest dragon holes in Japan! Although there are no guardian dragons or dragon carvings, this shrine is dedicated to the Dragon God and is one of the shrines you should visit in the year of the dragon, 2024. The deity Takanokami no Kami, also known as Ryujin-sama, is known as the deity responsible for rainfall and stopping rain.

Okumiya, located 10 minutes away from the main shrine, is the site of the founding of Kibune Shrine and is famous as the location of the three largest dragon holes in Japan. The dragon holes are said to be located directly below the main shrine building, and although they cannot be seen directly, they are visited by many worshippers as a power spot that exudes mighty power.

Kibune Shrine is also very popular as a power spot for marriage. The Yui no Yashiro (Shrine of Yui) ", which enshrines Iwanagahime no Mikoto (Princess Iwanagahime), is said to be beneficial for the fulfillment of love and is always crowded with visitors. " There are also "Knot ", which is said to bring good luck in the fulfillment of prayers, and ", which tells fortunes by floating a piece of paper in water, and ", which tells fortunes by water divination.

"More Information "
Address: 180 Kurama Kibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 601-1112
Phone number: 075-741-2016

Yasaka Shrine

"Yasaka Shrine "is another recommended spot for the Year of the Dragon, known as a shrine with a dragon hole. Higashiyama, where the shrine is located, is east of Heiankyo, the place where the blue dragon presides, and it is said that there is a dragon hole directly below the main shrine. According to the shrine, the dragon hole is located below the inner sanctuary where the deities are enshrined. It cannot be seen today because it has been hardened with plaster in the shape of a raised turtle's belly, but it is definitely worth visiting as a power spot as well.

Also not to be missed are the guardian dog and lion statues that can be seen beyond the west tower gate. Looking at the pedestal, one can see a depiction of a blue dragon splashing and leaping in the water. According to legend, the blue dragon dwells in a dragon pit beneath the main shrine building. When you visit Yasaka Shrine, be sure to take a look at this shrine as well.

After visiting the shrine, it is recommended that you go to the shrine office to receive a "Seiryuseki (blue dragon stone) "that has been purified with fresh water from the dragon hole and return home. The Seiryu-ishi stone is believed to bring good fortune when enshrined on the altar or on the east side of the house. Why not check it out for a year full of vitality?

"More Information "
Residence: 〒605-0073 625 Gion-cho Kita-side, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Phone number: 075-561-6155

Kuzuryu Taisya (deity said to be the grand protector of the Imperial regalia)

"Kuzuryu Taisha "is the newest of the shrines presented here. It was founded in 1954. It is said that the founder, Shojiro Onishi, was visited in his dream by the goddess Kuzuryu Benzaiten, who gave him an oracle. The most distinctive feature of the shrine is its unique method of worship. Since its founding, Kuzuryu Taisha has had a slightly different style of worship: two rei, four beats, two rei, followed by "nine sticks called ochido no stick "and returning one stick for each round of the main shrine .......

There are many spots on the temple grounds where you can see dragons, such as a hand-watering basin with a dragon coiled around it and a stone for the dragon god. After visiting the shrine, it is recommended to walk around the temple grounds looking for dragons. The painting of a kuzuryu (nine-headed dragon) in the Gagaku-den Hall to the left of the main hall was dedicated by Nyan-nyanji Temple in 2020, the 66th anniversary of the birth of Kuzuryu Taisha, and is also one of the highlights of the temple.

At the shrine office, you can receive "ascending dragon crystal ", which is beneficial for warding off bad luck, family safety, and inviting good fortune, as well as an ema (votive tablet) with the same picture of a nine-headed dragon that is housed in the Gagakuden, and "crystal dragon amulet ", which is a jade charm surrounded by a dragon.

"More Information "
Address: 681 Konoe-cho, Yase, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 601-1253
Phone number: 075-781-6405

Myoshinji Temple

There are several temples in Kyoto with dragon paintings on the ceiling. One of the most famous is the "dragon and cloud painting "at "Myoshinji Temple ", the head temple of the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism. This one was painted in 1656, when the Dharma Hall was built, and is known to have been created by Kano Tanyu, one of the most famous painters of the Edo period.

It took eight years to complete the dragon and clouds. The dragons painted on the 12-meter-diameter circular phase are very powerful. Also impressive is the fact that even though it was painted several hundred years ago, there is little discoloration and the colors are vivid. This is because the artist used shells and juice of plants and trees as paint when painting. Surprisingly, the paintings have never been restored, which gives visitors a sense of their long history.

Note that the cloud-and-dragon painting at Myoshin-ji Temple is also called "the dragon staring in all directions "because it is depicted so that the eyes meet the dragon from any angle. What is the actual situation? ...... In fact, since photography is prohibited, there is no way to see the dragon statues at Myoshin-ji Temple except by visiting the temple. When you visit the temple, please stop by the Dharma Hall to see the dragon statues.

"More Information "
Address: 〒616-8035 Kyoto City, Ukyo-ku, Hanazono Myoshinji-machi 1
Phone number: 075-461-5226

Tianlong Temple

The next spot, "Tenryu-ji Temple ", also has a magnificent ceiling depiction of a dragon riding on a cloud. Originally, a dragon riding on a cloud was painted here, but in 1997, Japanese painter Matazo Kayama created a new painting of a dragon riding on a cloud as part of a project commemorating the 650th anniversary of the passing of the priest Muso Kokushi, founder of Tenryu-ji Temple.

Like Myoshinji Temple, Tenryuji Temple's Unryu-zu is also called "Dragon Staring in All Directions "because it gives the illusion of a dragon staring at you from any angle. Although it has a shorter history than Myoshin-ji's Unryu-zu, it too has a magnificent glare. The magnificent dragon is 10.6 meters long and 12.6 meters wide, with 159 cedar boards, each 3 centimeters thick, laminated on the ceiling, coated with lacquer and white clay, and painted directly on top in black ink.

Unryu-zu can be viewed only on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, except during special visitation periods in spring, summer, and fall. In addition, every year in February, the Unryu paintings by Suzuki Matsutoshi, which were painted before the current Unryu paintings were created, are open to the public in the Daihojo.

"More Information "
Address: 68, Sagano-baba-cho, Tenryuji, Saga, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8385, Japan
Phone number: 075-881-1235


In addition to the temples and shrines introduced here, there are many other spots in Kyoto that are closely associated with dragons. By visiting temples and shrines with dragons, which are symbols of power and authority, you may find that 2024 will be a better year for you. In 2024, the year of the dragon, we hope you will visit temples and shrines with deep connections to dragons.

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