Kyoto is famous as a spectacle of Japanese traditional streets, Gion.
To be honest, I’ve never visited the streets of Gion until this Kyoto trip.
I was so ignorant as not knowing Yasaka shrine which is super famous place of Kyoto trip. I didn’t have any idea of “Gion = Yasaka shrine” though I could imagine “Kyoto =Gion”. How ignorant!!
I was so unfamiliar with Kyoto (Today is also unfamiliar too).
I guess it is not only me who don’t know Kyoto well. So, I will write this post for such people!!
What is Gion in Kyoto?
First of all, where is Gion in Kyoto?
According to the gion shopping street association promotion website(祇園商店街組合振興組合), Gion is a city centering around “The approach of Yasaka shrine”. Where the approach seems to be Shijo Dori Street between Yasaka shrine and Kawabata Dori Street. According to Kyoto City Official Travel Guide, “This area is wide, the east is Yasaka shrine, the south is Ninnaji Temple, the south is near around Kamogawa river and the north is Shinbashi Dori Street.” The nearest train station is Gion Shijo Station on Keihan line.
Gion is one of famous traditional red-light districts (I think there is no longer whore or something offering sexual service). There are some Maiko, Geiko and high class restaurants.
By the way, you can find one of traditional Kabuki theatre, Minamiza, coming out from Gion Shijo Station. I was impressed by only seeing it. The theater has the second oldest elevator, according to the guide (I wanna know where the oldest is).
Relationship between Gion and Yasaka Shrine
You may know the relationship between Gion and Yasaka Shrine, because I already wrote above. Gion has been developing as the city of Yasaka Shrine.
The shrine name is “Yasaka Jinja” nowadays, but it was called “Gion Jinja” or “Gionsha” until issuing Shinbutsu Bunri order to separate shrines and temples in 1868 (Historically, Shinto and Buddhism were blended in Japan).
So, Yasaka Shrine festival is called “Gion Festival” which is one of Japanese Three Major Festivals.
I will write about Gion Festival, incidentally. Briefly, it is a festival carried out from July 1st to 31st in Kyoto. A parade, Yamaboko Junko is famous.
Yamaboko Junko is famous, but it is not the main event. It is a ceremony to purify the city for the deity passing by the portable shrine.
Conclusion: If you go to Gion, let’s go to Yasaka shrine
I would like to recommend beginners of Kyoto that “Let’t go to Yasaka shrine when you go to Gion.”
I think visiting Gion without going to Yasaka shrine is like visiting Louvre museum without seeing Mona Lisa, maybe.
If you think “I visit Gion many times. So, I don’t wanna go Yasaka Shrine every time”, I am sorry. This post is written for a person who wanna go to or visit Gion first time, so, it must be boring.
Off the Subject
I was planning to receieve Goshuin from Yasaka Shrine, but they write Goshuin on Goshin Cho (Notebook for Goshuin) until 4pm… I visited 4:30, so I couldn’t receive it. Gashuin on a piece of paper is able to purchase after 4pm.
See the link if you don’t know what Goshuin is
What is Goshuin?
the gion shopping street association promotion website (祇園商店街組合振興組合 written in Japanese)
TripAdvisor (To see the review)
Search for accommodation in Kyoto
Search for your flight from overseas to Japan