Heian Shrine is a big temple (colour is striking red) near the Kyoto Modern Art Museum and Kyoto National Art Museum. The whole environment at Heian Shrine was very zen, meaning, empty spaces are all covered with stones. There is a very nice garden, the Shin-en Garden. There are 2 ponds with lilies and plants and there is even a pavilion where you can just sit down and relax. Newly weds love to go there for their photoshoots. So, if you would like to catch a glimpse of newly weds in their traditional wedding attire and their relatives and friends in their fine kimonos, I suggest you go to Shin-en Garden.
Extracted from web-link:
Founded in 1895 to commemorate Kyoto's 1100th anniversary. Dedicated to Emperor Kanmu who founded the capital and Emperor Komei the last Emperor to reign before the capital was moved to Tokyo. The Main Gate (Oten-mon) Great Hall of State (Daigokuden) and other brightly coloured buildings are smaller-scale replicas of buildings in the first imperial palace built 794. Shin-en a pond garden designed for strolling is a Place of Scenic Beauty and covers about 30000 square metres. It is divided into East Central West and South sections each of which has its moment of glory in a different season. Jidai Matsuri (festival) held October 22 is a panoramic procession of 2000 people wearing the costumes marking the periods of Kyoto's history.
Entrance Fee : Free for Temple; 600 Yen for Shin-en Graden (as at 15 May 04)
This is the famous Japanese architecture gates, nothing to compare to the European arches but the Heian Jingu's torii with its colourful orange colour is beautiful just in from of the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art and ahead of the Heian Shrine.
The Heian Jingu Shrine is one of the largest, popular, crowded and most beautiful in Kyoto. I love the Orange colours of it and I had problems to select the best 5 photos of this place to add to this tip :)
Although Kyoto boasts a great number of cultural sites, it is not actually a great place for viewing gardens however, there are a few great gardens, and the Heian Shrine's Shin-en Garden is certainly one of Kyoto's best!
It circles around the back of the shrine and features a variety of cherry trees, ponds with stepping stones, a beautiful bridge, and more. The Heian Shrine is particularly gorgeous during the cherry blossom season. Many of the blossoms in Kyoto are white, but at the Heian Shrine, blossoms are a vibrant pink!
As for the shrine itself, it is modeled after the old Heian Imperial Palace, so it doesn't look other Japanese shrines. The torii gate is also quite massive!
Seeing the Heian Shrine is free, but the Shin-en Garden costs 600 yen.
The two Emperors of Japan, one the founder (Emperor Kammu) of and the other the last ruler (Emperor Komei) of the Heian Capital (today's Kyoto), were deified and enshrined at Heian Shrine.
The shrine was built in 1895, which was the 1100th year since the Heian Captial was founded. To mark this year, the people built this shrine in the style of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
The main structures of this shrine included the Daigoku-den (Outer Oratory), Oten-mon (Divine Gate), Soryu-ro, Byakko-ro, Platform, and Ryubi-dan. In 1940, following the deification of Emperor Komei, additional structures such as the Main Sanctuary, Shinto ritual hall, Inner Sanctuary, Flank Hall, Tablet Hall, Outer and Inner Platforms, Saikan, and Administration Building were built.
Heian Shrine is a Shinto Shrine, built in the year 1895.
This shrine has the largest torii gate in Japan, which arches over a busy road. The torii gate was constructed in 1920, and is 24.2 m tall, with a top rail 33.9 m long. We saw lots of people taking photos of this gate before and after they enter the shrine.
If you packed your lunch while visiting the Ginkakuji Temple, there's a visitor's lounge close to the stores where you can eat. It's located past the covered fountain- a place where people wash themselves before entering the temple. I saw some people there eating their lunches. There are tables and chairs where people just relax.
Whe we got to the temple, there were children with their parents taking their class pictures at the temple. There were photographers taking each children with their best kimonos. The costumes of the kids were so colorful that I can't help to ask permission from their parents to take pictures with their children. Most of the mothers I asked, just smiled and politely asked their children to pose a picture with me. The kids gladly nodded their heads and go some great pictures of them!
One can notice and wonder how the sand got into the hills of Kyoto! I was really surprised when I got inside the gigantic wooden doors of the Heaian Temple to see how much sand inside the court! The white sand gave a glow to the orange and green paint of the buildings inside. It is amazing how the Japanese people in the old days carried all those sand up the hill.
That's a lot of sand to carry! I wondered why sand? Is there something particular about white sand in their quest for solace? How did the Japanese people dedicated this to the last emperor of Kyoto and made their people work hard to carry all those sand? Just a thought that got into me while I was inside the temple...
Outside the Heaian Shrine are gigantic wooden gates. There is also the ritual cleansing water fountain and the barrels (?) stocked together. But, inside the shrine are more buildings that are so beautiful. I think there are about four structures of different designs but of the same color.
When we got there, I was surprised that the inner court has white sand on it. How could a white sand be found up in the hills of Kyoto? I always wondered how the Japanese in the old days, carried all the sand up the shrines and temples in Kyoto.
There is a structure that is off limits to tourists. There is also a building where people go and pray. A vendor close to the gates are selling gift items.
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