You can't blame anyone. Kyoto has so many temples and shrines that you can't visit all of them in your limited time. Some shrines will be always on the top ten and some will be neglected. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is one of these less popular shrines, but it is definitely worth a visit. The admission is free and the shrine is open between 5 am and 6 pm daily. On 25th of any month, Tenjinsan market fair is held here. It is one of the biggest markets in Kyoto and you can find some interesting souvenirs.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a beautiful shrine with an interesting history. During the Heian Period, Michizane Sugawara held the highest position that a scholar could hold in the Imperial Court and was given many important tasks, such as embassador to China. In 901 however, he lost favor with the Imperial Court and was sent far off to Kyushu where he died. After his death, plagues, droughts, earthquakes, and other disasters struck Kyoto, and as ill fate began to strike those who supported Sugawara's exile, the Imperial Court became afraid that it was his soul seeking revenge. To appease him, they built Kitano Tenmangu in 947 and named him god of learning. It was also ranked as one of the top 22 shrines (nijunisha) during the Heian Period. The court chose and made offerings at each of the designated shrines. The shrine you see today dates back to 1607.
If you have no interest in the historical value of the shrine, the asthetic value is equally intriguing. The shrine is quite large, and the honden (main shrine) is more colorful than most Japanese temples and shrines, so it is easy to appreciate. Also, if you are in Kyoto from mid-February to the end of the month, you will be able to view the beautiful plum blossoms! There is a large grove of plum blossoms just outside the shrine entrance, but the entrance fee is 500 yen. If you don't want to pay, don't worry! You can see many more blossoms within the grounds of the shrine for free! In my opinion, this is one of Kyoto's best sites.
When visiting Kyoto most tourists go to see the Golden Pavillon "Kinkaku-ji" in the northern part of the city. If you have enough time you can use the opportunity to have a look to the Shinto Shrine "Kitano Tenman-gu", too. It is around 1500m from Kinkaku-ji and you can reach it by foot or by bus. You can also begin your tour with the Tenman-gu, but if you take the bus to continue your trip to Kinkaku-ji, beware that you not take the wrong direction – because it is a loop bus and in both directions the sign shows Kinkaku-ji as end of the line. The right direction are only a few busstops, while the other one needs hours!
Each month at the 25th, there is a kind of "flea market" at Kitano Tenmangu, where you can cheaply buy some presents to take home...
Kitano Tenmanggu (Shrine) Market - on the 25th of every month - northern Kyoto
This is a great place for people watching, bargains, some antiques, a lot of food stalls, stuff like shoes, towels, scarves, used kimonos, junk, and a few really great finds.