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Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The Heian Shrine (平安神宮) is a Shinto Shrine built in 1895 to mark 1100 years since Kyoto became the capital of Japan.

Heian Jingu enshrines Emperor Kanmu, the first emperor of the Heian Period (794-806) and Emperor Komei, the last emperor to reign from Kyoto (1831-1866).

Heian, meaning 'peace' in Japanese, is the former name of Kyoto. The imperial capital of Japan was known as Heian-kyo.

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Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Opening times and admission

Open 6 am to 6 pm, all year round.

Admission is free for the shrine and 600 yen for the garden.

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

How to get there

From Kyoto Station, you have a few options:

  1. Take the 5 City Bus to Okazaki Koen Bijutsukan/Heian Jingu (30 minutes, 13 stops), from there walk for a couple of minutes to Heian Jingu. This option costs 230 yen.

  2. Take the 206 City Bus to Higashiyama Niomon (26 min, 13 stops), then walk for 7-8 minutes to reach the shrine. This option costs 230 yen.

  3. Take the Karasuma Line to Karasuma Oike Station (6 minutes, 3 stops), then take the Tozai Line to Higashiyama Station (5 minutes, 3 stops) after which you need to walk for about 10 minutes to reach the Heian Shrine. This option costs 260 yen.

If you're trying to visit a few temples and shrines on the same day, Heian Jingu is a 15-20 minute walk from Nanzen-ji Temple, a 20-minute bus ride from Ginkakuji (City Bus nr. 5, 32 or 204) and a 15-minute walk from Yasaka Shrine.

Address: 97 Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8341, Japan

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

As you approach Heian Jingu, outside the shrine grounds, you will see a giant (24 meters tall) torii gate which marks the shrine's entrance.

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The shrine buildings are smaller replicas (5:8 scale) of the ones from the inner areas of the Imperial Palace (Chodoin Complex) during the Heian Period (794-1185).

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Heian Jingu's grounds are spacious so it won't feel too crowded even on busier days during Sakura season.

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The Heian Shrine also has 4 large landscape gardens, each designed in a different style corresponding to the Heian, Kamakura, Momoyama and Edo periods.

If you are there during Sakura season, you will be pleased to find that each of the gardens contains a variety of cherry blossoms, some of which bloom later than most (middle to end of April).

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The gardens are accessible from inside the shrine grounds, for a small fee.

On my latest trip, I arrived there a bit later in the day than anticipated and did not have enough time to tour the gardens, given how long the queue was at the time.

Heian Shrine, Kyoto
Heian Shrine, Kyoto

How long does a visit to Heian Jingu take?

Visiting the Heian Shrine can be a great way to spend a few hours surrounded by bright vermillion-coloured buildings, but if you are in a rush, you can probably check out all the colourful structures in roughly 30 minutes.

If you decide to see the gardens as well, please set aside an extra 45 minutes (at least).

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Have you ever been to the Heian Shrine? If so, I would love to hear about your visit there, in the comments below.

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I hope life is treating you well.

Take care.

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