Heian Shrine

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Heian Shrine
平安神宮 (Heian Jingu)
Heian-jingu daigokuden.jpg
Main Hall (Daigokuden)
Affiliation Shinto
FestivalReitaisai (April 15th)
Location97, Okazaki-Nishi-tenno-cho, Sakyō-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture, JAPAN, 606-8341
Japan location map with side map of the Ryukyu Islands.svg
Shinto torii icon vermillion.svg
Shown within Japan
Geographic coordinates 35°01′00″N135°46′56″E / 35.01667°N 135.78222°E / 35.01667; 135.78222 Coordinates: 35°01′00″N135°46′56″E / 35.01667°N 135.78222°E / 35.01667; 135.78222
Style Shichigensya-Nagare-zukuri (七間社流造)
Date establishedMarch 15th, 1895
Icon of Shinto.svg Glossary of Shinto
Heian Shrine Torii Gate, Kyoto, Japan Heian Shrine Torii Gate.JPG
Heian Shrine Torii Gate, Kyoto, Japan

The Heian Shrine(平安神宮,Heian-jingū) is a Shinto shrine located in Sakyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The Shrine is ranked as a Beppyō Jinja (別表神社) (the top rank for shrines) by the Association of Shinto Shrines. It is listed as an important cultural property of Japan.

Shinto shrine Japanese shrine of the Shinto religion

A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house ("enshrine") one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, and not for worship. Although only one word ("shrine") is used in English, in Japanese, Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jinja, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, taisha, ubusuna or yashiro.

Kyoto Designated city in Kansai, Japan

Kyoto, officially Kyoto City, is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. For over a thousand years, Kyoto was the Imperial capital of Japan but is now a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.

Japan Country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.



Main gate (Otenmon) Heian-jingu otenmon1.jpg
Main gate (Ōtenmon)
Castle in the corner (Soryuro) HeianShrine.jpg
Castle in the corner (Sōryūrō)
Lake at Heian Shrine Lake at Heian Shrine, Kyoto.jpg
Lake at Heian Shrine

In 1895, a partial reproduction of the Heian Palace from Heian-kyō (the former name of Kyoto) was planned for construction for the 1100th anniversary of the establishment of Heian-kyō. The Industrial exposition fair (an exhibition of development of Japanese and foreign cultures) was held in Kyoto that year, where the replica was to be the main monument. However, failure to buy enough land where the Heian Palace used to stand, the building was built in Okazaki at 5/8 scale of the original. The Heian-jingū was built according to designs by Itō Chūta.

Heian-kyō former name of Kyoto, capital of Japan 794-1868

Heian-kyō was one of several former names for the city now known as Kyoto. It was the official capital of Japan for over one thousand years, from 794 to 1868 with an interruption in 1180.

Itō Chūta architect

Itō Chūta was a Japanese architect, architectural historian, and critic. He is recognized as the leading architect and architectural theorist of early 20th-century Imperial Japan.

After the Exhibition ended, the building was kept as a shrine in memory of the 50th Emperor, Emperor Kanmu, who was the Emperor when Heian-kyō became the capital. In 1940, Emperor Kōmei was added to the list of dedication.

Emperor Kanmu Emperor of Japan

Emperor Kammu was the 50th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Kammu reigned from 781 to 806.

Emperor Kōmei emperor of Japan

Emperor Kōmei was the 121st Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Kōmei's reign spanned the years from 1846 through 1867, corresponding to the final years of the Edo period.

Kyoto was shocked and depressed after the capital was moved to Tokyo. Later, the citizens came together to build a new city after World War II. The construction of Heian Shrine was a symbol of revival for the city. The revival consisted of the new Kyoto in education, culture, industry, and daily life, where at the same time the "good old" Kyoto was maintained.

In 1976, the Shrine was set on fire; and nine of the buildings, including the honden, or main sanctuary, burned down. Three years later, the burned buildings were reconstructed with money collected from donations. [1]


The honden, also called shinden (神殿) or sometimes shōden (昇殿), as in Ise Shrine's case, is the most sacred building at a Shinto shrine, intended purely for the use of the enshrined kami, usually symbolized by a mirror or sometimes by a statue. The building is normally in the rear of the shrine and closed to the general public. In front of it usually stands the haiden, or oratory. The haiden is often connected to the honden by a heiden, or hall of offerings.


The architecture design was a reproduction of the Chōdōin (Emperor's palace in the former eras) in 5/8th scale (in length). The large red entrance gate is a reproduction of the Outenmon of the Chōdōin. The architecture of the main palace mirrors the style and features of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, [2] the style from the 11th–12th century (late Heian Period). The Shrine's torii is one of the largest in Japan.

<i>Torii</i> traditional Japanese gate

A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred.


The Japanese-style garden takes up about half the land area (approximately 33060 m2). Renowned gardener Ogawa Jihei VII, also known as Ueji, created the garden over a 20-year period. The water used in the ponds comes from the Lake Biwa Canal. Species otherwise rare in Japan such as Acheilognathus cyanostigma , the Yellow pond turtle and the Japanese pond turtle live around the ponds. Visitors may feed the fish and turtles with food sold around the ponds.

Ogawa Jihei VII

Ogawa Jihei VII, also known under his titular name as the seventh Ueji (植治), was a Japanese garden architect of the Meiji era and Taishō era of modern Japan.

Lake Biwa Canal

Lake Biwa Canal is a waterway in Japan constructed during the Meiji Period to transport water, freight, and passengers from Lake Biwa to the nearby City of Kyoto. The canal supplied Japan's first public hydroelectric power generator, which served from 1895 to provide electricity for Kyoto's trams.

Yellow pond turtle species of reptile

The yellow pond turtle, is a medium-sized, semi-aquatic turtle in the family Geoemydidae. This species has a characteristic broad yellow stripe extending behind the eye and down the neck; the carapace ranges in color from grayish brown to brown and the plastron is yellow or orange with black blotches along the outer edges. It is found in East Asia, ranging from central Vietnam, north through the coastal provinces of south and central China. Additional insular populations are found in Taiwan, Hainan, Ryukyu Islands, and Japan. The Japanese populations are believed to have been introduced as a result of imports from Taiwan.


Annual festivals celebrate the memory of Emperor Kōmei (late January) and Emperor Kanmu (early April). [2]

On October 22, Heian-jingū hosts the Jidai Matsuri , [1] which is one of the most important festivals of Kyoto. The procession of this festival begins at the old Imperial palace, and includes carrying the mikoshi (portable shrines) of Emperors Kanmu and Kōmei to the Heian-jingū.

The Shrine is also used for traditional Japanese weddings as well as concerts. It is rare for a modern concert to be held at a historic site like the shrine, but merging modern and old culture in Kyoto has become a trend.

Around the Shrine

Adjacent to the Shrine is Okazaki Park, where visitors can learn about culture. The Shrine is surrounded by the Kyoto Prefectural Library, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Kyoto Kaikan, and the Kyoto City Zoo.

See also

Heian-jingu's torii Heianjingu torii.jpg
Heian-jingū's torii


  1. 1 2 Nussbaum, "Heian jingū" in p. 303 , p. 303, at Google Books
  2. 1 2 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Heian jingū" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 302–303 , p. 302, at Google Books

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