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Shimogamo Shrine

This shrine was dedicated to spirits in the 6th century. Now, it survives as the oldest of its kind in Kyoto, pre-dating the city itself.

This site is one of the two oldest shrines in the city of Kyoto. It is part of the Kamo Shrines, which are considered extremely significant as they pre-date the city itself. Even the site’s surviving trees date back to the 15th century. It is listed as one of the 17 Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

Visit the traditional main halls with their sloping roofs. They are dedicated to deities. Wander the large grounds to see the seemingly countless shrines on the site. Find the Mitarashi Shrine and its large pond where autumnal purification ceremonies take place. Head to the red palace, which is surrounded by clay that may have been used for ceramics many years ago.

Marvel at the 600-year-old trees of the Tadasu no Mori forest surrounding the shrine’s complex. Walk across the Taikobashi Bridge to enjoy the greenery of the surrounding trees. The forest is on a river delta, encouraging the lush, green landscape. Visit the shrine in spring to make the most of the cherry blossom trees. Take photos of the most famous tree, which stands in front of the forest’s vermillion gate. The woods cover an area of 30 acres (12 hectares).

The site’s name means “Lower Kamo Shrine,” which stresses its important link with the Kamigamo Shrine. Of the two, Shimogamo is believed to be the oldest, possibly dating back to the 6th century. It is dedicated to deities and spirits. During Kyoto’s reign as Japan’s capital, the imperial family designated it as a site of protection and prosperity.

The shrine sits in the north of Kyoto, between the Takano and Kamo rivers. Demachi-Yanagi Station is 0.7 miles (1.1 km) away on foot. It is on the Keihan Line of the city’s subway. Buses run regularly to Shimogamojinja-mae bus stop, right by the shrine.


Guide to Exploring Shimogamo Shrine


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Yadoya Kyoto-Shimogamo
Yadoya Kyoto-Shimogamo

Yadoya Kyoto-Shimogamo

     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Shimogamo Shrine and Kyoto Institute of Technology. Kyoto University and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 miles (3 km). Kitaoji Station is 14 minutes by foot and Kuramaguchi Station is 15 minutes.

    Hidden Inn Shimogamo
    Hidden Inn Shimogamo

    Hidden Inn Shimogamo

       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Chionji Temple and Kyoto University. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Doshisha University are also within 2 miles (3 km). Mototanaka Station is 5 minutes by foot and Demachiyanagi Station is 9 minutes.

      Guest House Motana
      Guest House Motana

      Guest House Motana

         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Chionji Temple and Kyoto University. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kyoto Institute of Technology are also within 2 miles (3 km). Mototanaka Station is only a 4-minute walk and Chayama Station is 9 minutes.

        Kyoto Guest House Kohinobori
        Kyoto Guest House Kohinobori

        Kyoto Guest House Kohinobori

        Tanaka Kamiyanagityo 17-1, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Sakyo Ward, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Shimogamo Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Heian Shrine and Gion Corner are also within 3 mi (5 km). Demachiyanagi Station is only a 2-minute walk and Mototanaka Station is 14 minutes.

          Hotel Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa
          Hotel Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa

          Hotel Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa

          202 Seiryucho, Kamigyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Kamigyo, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Shimogamo Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Heian Shrine and Gion Corner are also within 3 mi (5 km). Demachiyanagi Station is only a 4-minute walk and Imadegawa Station is 16 minutes.

            Karan Hoshi
            Karan Hoshi

            Karan Hoshi

               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Chionji Temple and Kyoto University. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Heian Shrine are also within 2 miles (3 km). Demachiyanagi Station is 6 minutes by foot and Mototanaka Station is 7 minutes.

              Rakuya Demachiyanagi East
              Rakuya Demachiyanagi East

              Rakuya Demachiyanagi East

                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Chionji Temple and Kyoto University. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Heian Shrine are also within 2 miles (3 km). Demachiyanagi Station is 6 minutes by foot and Mototanaka Station is 7 minutes.

                Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa
                Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa

                Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa

                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Kamigyo, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto University and Doshisha University. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Pontocho are also within 2 miles (3 km). Demachiyanagi Station is only a 4-minute walk and Imadegawa Station is 16 minutes.