A stroll through the park will bring you to one of my favorite Shinto shrines in the Kyoto area. Originally the tutelary shrine of the powerful Fujiwara family, it was founded in 768 and, according to Shinto concepts of purity, was torn down and rebuilt every 20 years in its original form until 1863. As virtually all empresses hailed from the Fujiwara family, the shrine enjoyed a privileged status with the imperial family. Nestled in the midst of verdant woods, it's a shrine of vermilion-colored pillars and an astounding 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. The most spectacular time to visit is mid-August or the beginning of February, when all 3,000 lanterns are lit. Here, too, you can pay ¥200 ($1.65/85p) for an omikuji, a slip of paper on which your fortune is written in English. If the fortune is unfavorable, you can conveniently negate it by tying the piece of paper to the twig of a tree. Although admission to the grounds is free, admission is charged for Rokuen, a botanical garden preserving native Japanese plants (and known for its wisteria), and to the Homotsuden, a treasure house displaying costumes, swords, and armor. Because they're expensive, fork out the extra yen only if these are your particular interest.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010
- tel: 0742/22-7788
- Daily 9am-4:30pm (4pm in winter); Rokuen and Homotsuden closed Mon
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