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2009
09.08

ujigami-jinja

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ujigami-jinja (宇治上神社) is a small site, but don’t let its dimensions disappoint you.  this shrine is considered the oldest shinto shrine architecture in the world.  as such the main building that you see above is actually composed of three inner buildings all covered by one roof.

located just a 15 minute walk east from byodo-in across the river and about 10 minutes from the keihan line station.  here’s a view of the river and one of the two bridges you must cross.

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i could hear this guy playing his saxophone all day.  i found him under a tree in the small middle island that you must cross through to get to ujigami-jinja from byodo-in.  he was listening to his ipod and playing along.  very good player.

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once you cross the second bridge, this is what you will see.  to get to ujigami-shinsha just walk under the torii (the orange gate).

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you will first come upon this shrine.  this is not ujigami-jinja, but it is along the way, so take a breather and check it out.  there is a second building behind this one.  to head to ujigame-jinja, just veer to the left and continue walking up the road another 2-3 minutes.

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this is the entrance to ujigami-jinja.  there were only a few people there, quite different from byodo-in.

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this is the principal building at this site.  in front of the building are two conical mounds of sand.  these are platforms for the gods to descend upon.

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this is the rear building.  make sure you get up close and look through the lattice work to see inside.  there are some statues and shrines inside.

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a photo of the third building.

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on site you will also see what looks like a shed with some very clear water and some scoops to collect the water.  this is a natural spring and supposedly some of the clearest water in the area.  feel free to take some home with you, but do not drink it as is (there is a warning in japanese on the wall).  boil it first and you will be fine.

if you have the time, i recommend that from here you head over to kosho-ji (興聖寺).  it is not a UNESCO site, but it does have a wonderful garden, large bell, and nice setting at the base of the small mountain.  you can get there two ways.  head back the way you came and once you reach the river turn left to head south for about a 10 minute walk.  the alternative is to take a leisurely walk up the mountain resting behind ujigami-jinja, which should take 15-20 minutes.  you will be rewarded with this view!  then just head down the other side and you will end up at kosho-ji.  from the view point the trail splits three times.  make sure to go right, right, left.  if you forget don’t worry, follow the convenient maps.  ;)

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enjoy the video!

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  1. […] Komainu guarding the Ujigami jinja honden which dates to the late Heian period (794 – 1185). Source: Ujigami Shrine, Wikipedia; see also Ujigami-jinja, UNESCO […]