Stepping through Kamigamo-jinja‘s second torii is like stepping through a time portal. Together with Shimogamo-jinja, Kamigamo-jinja’s sister shrine, the two sites are called Kamo-jinja and are the oldest shrines in Kyoto.

Torii indicate that you are about to enter a sacred place, and Kamigamo-jinja is one of the most sacred sites in Kyoto.

Second Torii, Kamigamo Shrine

Second torii (ni-no-torii)「二の鳥居」
Kamigamo Shrine’s second gate 「二の鳥居 / ni-no-torii」
HDR photo

Torii are very important elements in Japanese shrines (and sometimes at temples). All shrines have at least one torii. They are a delineating mark, separating the normal world from sacred sites.

This photo was taken late on a mid-autumn day, while standing next to Kamigamo-jinja’s hoso-dono 「thin hall, 細殿」 in this historic World Heritage site, one of 17 in Kyoto.

Beyond the torii in this photo is the jinmesha 「sacred horse hall, 神馬舎」 which is a very unique and very small hall. It is said that the Japanese horse race originated here. Every year as part of the huge Aoi Festival there are horses races here and at Shimogamo Shrine.

The shrine is in Kyoto’s north ward 「Kita-ku, 北区」 and is easily accessed by bus (see Kyoto City Bus #4 to Kamigamo Shrine).

Kamigamo-jinja’s second torii map

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