For Beginners of Kyoto: Let’s Go to The Oldest Shrine in The City of Kyoto ~Shimogamo Shrine~

The Oldest Shrine in the City of Kyoto

Shimogamo  Shrine
Shimogamo Shrine

Shimogamo Shrine is located in the lower section of the Kamogawa River.

The official name is Kamomioya Shrine (賀茂御祖神社(かもみおやじんじゃ))

The reason why this shrine is famous because would be Aoi Festival.

What is Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival)?

The Aoi Matsuri is one of three major festival in Kyoto.

The following is the explanation from Kyoto City Tourism Association.



葵祭 沿革・祭儀 京都市観光協会HPより引用

The following is the translation. 

It is the lagest annual festival of Shimogamo Shrine and Kamikamo Shrine.  It is held every May 15th.  In old days, it was called Kamosai or Kita no Matsuri (lit. Northern Festival).  In the middle of Heian period (about 10th century),  simple  “Matsuri (lit. festival)” meant Aoi Matsuri for aristocrats. The festival was so famous.

The feature of this festival is that it still remains traditions of dynasty customs which are less in other Japanese festivals as it has been held as a national event since Heian period. 

(the translation by Nao )

In addition,  according to the above website, the festival has been held since 1400 years before. Wow, incredible.

And, Shimokamo shrine is famous as “The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl”?

(Yoru ha Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome 夜は短し歩けよ乙女)

It seems to be interesting. I will read  the book!

There is a native forest called “Tadasu no Mori ” (糺ノ森(ただすのもり)” in Shimogamo Shrine.

Tadasu no Mori
Tadasu no Mori

How old the trees?

Mitarashi Ike (Pond) and Mitarashi Gawa (River)

Mitarashi Gawa River and Inouesha shrine
Mitarashi Gawa River and Inouesha shrine

It seems not to be a river… (The depth is only 2 cm or less) but it is a river!!

The water gets so clean as fireflys were back!!  BTW, the water of rivers in Kyoto is very clean.  It quite different from Tama Gawa River..  The river will get clean if Tokyo challenges?


I drew three different fortunes.

Regular type fortune

The Regular Type Fortune
The Regular Type Fortune

It is made of color paper. (BTW, the red one is my camera case. Please don’t mind it).

Mizu Mikuni (Water Fortune)

You can see the fortune telling after dipping to water.

Mizu Mikuji
Mizu Mikuji     Gradually, the letters appear.

Koi Mikuni (Love Fortune) 

The piece of fortune seems to be different between girls and boys. The fortune is based on the Tale of Genji (源氏物語Genji Monogatari) which is Japanese classic literature.

Koi Mikuji
Koi Mikuji

The fortune can be used for a book mark. It is cute.  Usually, “Fortune of Shimogamo Shrine” seems to mean this fortune.

Off The Subject

The Sign of Insyo Kigan Sai
The Sign of Insyo Kigan Sai

Insho Kigan Sai (印章祈願祭 lit. Stamp Prayer Festival) was held. It seems to have had fun.  A work shop to make a stamp for Japanese calligraphy  was also held.  I would have joined it if I had enough time though…

Other events also were held. 

The Demonstration How to Wear Arstcrats' Kimono
The Demonstration How to Wear Arstcrats’ Kimono

I wanna go again.


Shimogamo Jinja 

Aoi Festival (in Japanese) 

TripAdvisor (To see the review)



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