Japan Kyoto Gion

Yasaka Shrine

An enduring spiritual center in Kyoto’s Gion district

Photo of Yasaka Shrine, Japan (Yasaka Shrine by Doug Letterman)

Yasaka Shrine, also known as Gion Shrine, is a historic Shinto shrine in Kyoto’s Gion district. Established in the 7th century, it is celebrated for its connection with the Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s most renowned festivals. Dedicated to Susanoo-no-Mikoto, the shrine is a cultural and spiritual landmark, drawing visitors with its annual events and tranquil atmosphere.

About Yasaka Shrine

Located between the Gion and Higashiyama districts, Yasaka Shrine has been a key spiritual site for over a millennium. During the Heian period (794-1185), the shrine became a central part of worship and cultural life in Kyoto. Susanoo-no-Mikoto, the god of storms and seas, along with his consort Kushinadahime-no-Mikoto, are enshrined here.

The Gion Matsuri, which began in 869 to stop a plague, has become a grand annual festival every July. The festival’s floats and the procession of mikoshi highlight Kyoto’s traditions. The shrine’s main hall, or Honden, is an important cultural property, exemplifying traditional Shinto architecture. The structure combines the honden and haiden, underscoring its significance.

Yasaka Shrine hosts various festivities year-round, featuring sacred dances by shrine maidens and traditional music. At night, hundreds of lanterns light the grounds, creating a magical setting during the Gion Matsuri.

Maruyama Park, adjacent to the shrine, is a prime spot for cherry blossom viewing in early April. Within the shrine’s gardens is Utsukushi Gozensha, a smaller temple that attracts many visitors.

As a key cultural site, Yasaka Shrine is a venue for rituals such as weddings and prayers for success. Its buildings and peaceful gardens offer an escape from the bustle of the city. Whether during the Gion Matsuri or a quiet day, Yasaka Shrine provides a sense of Kyoto’s historic beauty and spiritual heritage.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Yasaka Shrine

KH 39

 Keihan Main Line

 5-10 minute walk (800m)
T 10

 Kyoto Tozai Line

 10-20 minute walk (0.9km)
HK 86

Hankyu Kyoto-kawaramachi
 Hankyu Kyoto Main Line + 1 more

 10-20 minute walk (1.0km)

Around Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine

Shinto Shrine in Kyoto

open 24 hours
closed Irregularly


八坂神社, 京都

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Updated 13 Mar 2024 • Report an error

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