Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Attraction Japan 〒602-8386 京都府京都市 上京区馬喰町 Published on: 29-04-2016

1 hour
09:00 AM - 06:00 PM
05:30 PM
10:30 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
0.00 USD

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  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Kitano-tenmangu Shrine is one of the great shrines of Kyoto. It features elaborate architecture, plum trees which scent the air in spring, and a collection of treasures of special interest to those familiar with Japanese history.

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Why Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is special ?

Kitano-tenmangu Shrine is one of the great shrines of Kyoto. It features elaborate architecture, plum trees which scent the air in spring, and a collection of treasures of special interest to those familiar with Japanese history.

Kitano-tenmangu Shrine enshrines the spirit of Sugawara-no-Michizane who was a scholar and adviser to the Emperor Uda in the Heian Period. He was a loyal civil servant who became the victim of slander and was subsequently exiled to the island of Kyushu where he died. Shortly after his death a series of severe thunderstorms and earthquakes shook the capital. To add to this, a number of the people who slandered him met with unexpected disaster. These events were interpreted to mean that his powerful spirit was unhappy, and the Imperial Court moved to placate it by granting him the posthumous name of KaraiTenjin (God of Fire and Thunder) and building this shrine. Tenjin is now regarded as the deity of scholastic studies and is extremely popular with students preparing for high school or university entrance examinations.

The many plum trees on the grounds were planted because of Michizane's known fondness for them during his lifetime. A plum blossom festival is held at the shrine every year in February. Kitano-tenmangu Shrine was the location of the famous mass tea ceremony conducted by the warlord ToyotomiHideyoshi, and among the shrine's treasures, are artifacts connected to that particular event as well as others connected to the life of Michizane.


What to explore at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine?

Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine, which enshrines Michizane Sugawara, the god of learning, is the main shrine of all 12,000 Tenmangu and Tenjinsha shrines in Japan.


On the shrine’s festival day on the 25th of each month, the area is very lively with a flea market and approximately 1,000 street stalls. Kagura-mai (Shinto music and dancing) is also performed on those days.


Kagura dancing is always available at the Kagura Hall. It is performed for worshipers who pay a ceremony fee (¥1000 or more), but visitors may watch freely. It is performed on the 25th of each month.

The Treasure Hall was built in 1927 using the most advanced technology available at the time, and utilizing a design that combined western and Japanese cultures. It houses many treasures, including the National Treasure ""Kitano TenjinEngiPicture Scroll"" (Jokyubon), a votive tablet with an illustration of Masatoshi Benkei on horseback (by Tohaku Hasegawa), a Matsukaze Ink Stone used regularly by Sugawara Michizane, and other sacred articles and offerings that tell the story of the Tenjin religion, which has existed for over a thousand years.


How to get to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine?

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine can be directly reached by Kyoto City Bus number 50 or 101 from Kyoto Station (230 yen, 30 minutes). An indirect but perhaps quicker route during rush hours is to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Imadegawa Station and catch the 102 or 203 bus to the shrine. In either case get off at the Kitano Tenmangumae bus stop.


Selling points

  • Gorgoeus autumn leaves
  • Great Place especially on 25th
  • Stunning Plum Blossoms
  • A nice place for autumn leaves and plum blossoms
  • surprise find and well worth a visit
4 Days 3 Nights in Kyoto

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4.0 days
181.16 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
20 places




Japan 〒602-8386 京都府京都市 上京区馬喰町

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Tips for you

  • You can get there easily because buses stop right at the market entrance.
  • As you go through the gate, you might notice some black cows being placed and some people are touching it.
    Things to do
  • You can get food and drink as well and there is some fairground entertainment for the children. There is a yummy tiny cute Japanese restaurant here.
  • It is a great place to try takoyaki( octopus balls), okonomiyaki and japanese sweets.
  • You should get there before lunchtime because it is crowded sometimes.
  • The Shrine is a very popular place for students to pray for good grades and academic achievements.
  • It's near the Golden Temple so you can add to this itinerary.
    Things nearby
  • Parking is free.
  • You should bargain to get a low price at the flea market.
  • The ticket fee to enter the garden is 600 yen, including tea and snack. Entrance fee of the Shrine treasure house: ¥300 for adults ¥250 for students ¥150 for children
    Ticket and Pricing
  • There is a regular flea market on the 25th of every month right outside Kitano Tenmangu.


TripAdvisor View more

The Shrine is better known for its plum blossoms in early Spring as there are some 1500 plum trees in the plum garden. However, the Shrine is also very beautiful in Autumn. The Shrine is a very popular place for students to pray for good grades and academic achievements. Surprisingly, there are two types of prayers, 4000-yen and 5000-yen. Perhaps the 5000-yen prayer offers a better chance of success. The admission fee of 600 yen entitles a visitor a free flow of hot tea and a piece of Japanese cake. We shall come back here in early March next year to enjoy the plum blossoms.

First I came here when I was in the third grade of high school for hoping that my scholarship would be improved and I would make a success in the university entrance examination. Later my dream came true and I entered the university of my first choice. This shrine is highly famous for being dedicated to a deity of scholarship (Michizane Sugawara). A lot of applicants of the exams or business workers pay visit here all year round praying for their success in tests or brisk businesses. Many temples in Kyoto ask for entrance charges, however in this shrine admission is free. Also it is must as a plum blossom viewing spot where the plum festival is held on Feb.25 every year. Viewing plum blossoms in full bloom, having an open air tea performed by Geiko or Okami, observing hidden treasures in the main hall.... I'm interested in but have yet to participate in it. A large market makes a long line along the precincts and around the shrine on 25th day every month. I have peeped in the market once. It was popular and crowded with many visitors. I bought local vegetables or sweets in some stalls.

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