“Tenjin-san” is familiar to all Japanese. Tenman-gu Shrine, which is popular among many shrines throughout Japan and has gathered faith, is said to have about 12,000 companies nationwide. Among them, “Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine” in Kyoto is the total headquarters of Tenmangu, and boasts the highest number of visiter among the most famous temple and shrines in Kyoto.
①The history of Kitano Tenman-gu and four national treasures.
② Mysterious gate “Sanko-mon(Sanko-gate)”
③There are many annual events that you can participate in.
How to get to Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
There are ways to train or bus, but in the case of a train, you need to transfer to the bus.
When going to Kitano Tenman-gu Shire by train
①JR Kyoto Station ➡ JR Sanin Line “Enmachi” Station ➡ JR “Enmachi station” bus stop ➡ Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine➡About 1 minuets on foot.
Take the “Kameoka bound” or “Sonobe bound” train from platform 32 at Kyoto Station. When you take a bus, you should take No.203(Kinrin-shako-mae) bus.
Total about 30minute/ Cost 420 yen
When going to Kitano Tenman-gu Shire by bus
①JR Kyoto Station(Bus stop:B2) ➡ Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine bus stop➡ about 1minuets on foot.
・No.50: Ritumeikan Univ.(Kyoto City bus)
・No.101(Exp.): Kinkakuji Temple Via Nijo-jo Castle.(Kyoto City bus)
No101(Exp.) bus is prepaid. Riding from the front door and from the back door. Please pay the fare when you boarding.
Total about 35 minuets / Cost 230yen (Child:120 yen)
Things of the glamour of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
①The history of Kitano Tenman-gu and four national treasures
The enshrined deity of “Tenmangu”, familiar to “Tenjin”, is Michizane Sugawara. He was a scholar, aristocrat, and Minister of the Right in Heian-era. Michizane was a genius and he received a lot of support from the emperor when he was young. But he falls into the tactics of the surrounding and he was driven to the land of Kyushu by innocent sin.
Michizane died without being able to return to the Kyoto, a rumors spread that disasters continued in Kyoto and everybody said that the disaster was caused by his careless thoughts. So the nobility of Kyoto built Tenman-gu Shrine and they prayed for Michizane and calmed his anger.
In the Edo period, many people prayed for the fulfillment of academic achievements. Thus Michizane became popular as a god of learning. Even now, many students come to Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine to pray for their benefits.
There are four national treasures at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine.
・Main Hall / Honden(本殿)
・Worship hall / Haiden(拝殿)
The current shrine was built in 1607 by Hideyori Toyotomi, This building is said to be a “Yatsumune tsukuri” or “Gongen tsukuri”, and it is very unusual building. “Yatsumune tsukuri” is an architectural style that connects the main hall and the worship hall with a building called “Ishi-no-ma”.
The main shrine is enshrined by Nichizane Sugawara. The main hall shrine and worship hall are connected by Ishi-no-ma and there are Rakunoma on the left and right of Ishi-no-ma. The building is all connected, and this building becomes a national treasure.
Mysterious gate “Sanko-mon(Sanko-gate)”
Sanko-mon(Sanko-gate) built by Hideyori Toyotomi is in front of the main hall and it s designated as an important cultural property. It is famous for its magnificent appearance, but it is also famous as a mysterious gate.
Sanko-mon(Sanko gate) is a gate with sculptures of sun, moon and stars. But there are no stars at Sanko-mon in Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine. You can see the sun by going under the gate and looking up. Also the moon is visible in the direction of north from its bright red sun. But no matter how you search, you will not find a star. Instead, looking up at the ceiling from the north side of Sanko-mon, there is a silver crescent moon. Sanko-mon in Kitano temnan-gu Shrine is called “Sanko-mon without Star” because there are sun and moon but no star.
Why are there no star sculptures? The following story is conveyed.
Heian period, when the emperor prays to Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine at the Imperial Palace(Kyoto Gosho), it seems that the Arctic star was shinig right above the Sanko-mon. It is said that there is no star sculpture in Sanko-mon at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine because the stars are always shining on the gate.
③There are many annual events that you can participate in.
◎”Tenjin-san”‘s day / 25th of ever month
“Hatsu Tenjin” on January 25th, “Shimai tenjin” on December 25th are compared to other months.
Setsubun Festival the day before the spring In Kyoto, there is a four-way approach. If you visit Yoshida Shrine, Yasaka Shrine, Mibu-ji, and KitanoTenman-gu Shrine, it is said that the disease will be fulfilled. On the day before the calendrical beginning spring of every year, Setsubun Festival(節分祭) is held is held at the main shrine, and “Kitano tsuina Kyogen(北野追儺狂言)”. Geiko dances Japanese dance and Mame-maki(a Japanese bean-scattering ceremony).
◎Mitarai Festival and Tanabata Festival (A seasonla festival called the Star Festival) / July 7th
Tanabata is Japanese festival that has been held since ancient time, and is counted one of the Five season festival(五節句) that represent important verses of the year. It is customary to pray to the stars by handing colorful strips and decorations with wishes on the bamboo leaves every night on July 7th. On Tanabata night, Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine will be decorated with a lot of bamboo covered with strips of children’s requests will be displayed. You can see the Tanabata dance of Kindergarden children.
※The Five season festival(五節句)
Originally from China, it is an event to pray to Got for rich harvest, health and family prosperity with an offering made to God and remove the negative vibes.
◎Zuiki Festival / October 1-5
Zuiki Festival is known for its representative autumn festival in Kyoto. The Mikoshi(portable shrine) carrying a God goes around Otabisho from 1st to 4th. Otabisho is a place where a god stays and rests in the middle of a farewell at a shrine ritual. After making maccha and offerng it to God, the Mikoshi returns to Kitano Temnam-gu Shrine.
◎Release Momoji-garden / Late in October to early part of December
During for the Momiji-garden, you can enjoy the beauty of autumn in Kyoto with a tea ceremony, light up and dance by Maiko at Kitano Temman-gu Shrine. The Tenman-gu Shrine, which is light up and emerges, is fantastic and you can enjoy an unusual atmosphere.
The new Mitarai River was completed in August 2015. The place is southwest of Sanko-mon and northwest of Ema-sho.
Kitano Tenman-gu Shire Entrance fee
Free visit to Tenman-gu Shrine
April ～ Septenber 5am～6pm
October ～March 5:30am～5:30pm
〈Kagura〉25th every month/ 10am～5pm
Kagura dance is performed at Kaguraden at all time. You can visit freely.
〈”Tenjin-san”‘s day〉 25th of ever month / 6am〜9pm
Many tourists visit throughout the year, such as the season of plums and autumn leaves, in addition to the first season. kitano Tenman-gu Shrine is famous as a large shrine in Kyoto, but it is very friendly and has many attractions. You can enjoy in any season, so please go as one of the sightseeing.