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kamigamo shrine

kamigamo shrine (上賀茂神社), formally known as kamowakeikazuchi shrine (賀茂別雷神社), was built in 678 in northern kyoto.  during its heiday the shrine was frequented by the royal family, as the shrine was dedicated to the preservation and pacification of japan.  the two conical mounds of sand that you see above are platforms built for the gods to descend upon.

kamigamo shrine along with kamomioya shrine make up the much larger complex called kamo shrine (賀茂神社).  this is the upper shrine along the kamo river (鴨川), while the lower shrine is kamomioya shrine.  both shrines together serve to protect kyoto from evil forces that were believed to come down the kamo river from the devil’s gate (鬼門 – kimon).

held on may 15th of every year, the aoi matsuri (festival) is held at both the upper and lower kamo shrines.  this festival is the oldest of the three largest imperial festivals in kyoto.  admission to the shrine is free, but its distance might turn off some visitors.  take bus number 4 from kyoto station and get off at the last stop, which is kamigamo shrine.  the bus ride will cost 220 yen.  you can visit kamigamo shrine and kamomioya shrine at the same time.  it’s a little bit of a walk, about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles), but you can walk along the kamo river the whole time for some nice views and a break at one of the many benches.

photos of the shrine’s grounds and park:

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of the romon:

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almost a 3 minute video of the shrine:

kamigamo shrine location in northern kyoto:

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further information:

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