The imposing Japanese Shinto shrine tower gate 「rōmon, 楼門」 is an impressive structure, acting as an entrance to sacred ground. The bright vermillion coloured paint makes it an unmissable shrine landmark.

Intricate under-side of Shimogamo-jinja’s rōmon

Romon 楼門 at Shimogamo Shrine 下鴨神社
Panasonic DMC-LX3 (5.1mm, f/3.2, 1/500 sec, ISO80)
Rōmon 楼門 at Shimogamo-jinja下鴨神社

This rōmon is an icon of the Shimogamo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Kyoto. Together with Kamigamo Shrine they form the Kamo Shrines, the oldest World Heritage shrines in Kyoto.

A unique perspective on a heavily photographed Japanese shrine

When was I first getting into photography I read many tutorials on the subject. One prolific tip for travel photography was to get an interesting angle and to shoot the details. This has helped me absorb the small intricacies of the sites I visit in Japan.

This photo shows the detail of the rōmon’s roof, and part of the decorative balcony. The construction is complex but obviously very well structured, as is the painting of the wood itself.

See Shimogamo-jinja’s rōmon for yourself

Shimogamo Shrine is located at a fork in the Kamo River, just north of the Gion and Kawaramachi districts of Kyoto. The shrine is free to enter and opens at 6:30AM everyday, so is a great place to kick off an early day of sightseeing in Kyoto.

Read more and see 20 photos of the shrine at our Shimogamo-jinja travel guide.

Location of Shimogamo Shrine’s Tower Gate:

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View Shimogamo Shrine’s Tower Gate on Google Maps.