The Kamo Shrines – Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine – are surrounded by wonderfully peaceful ancient and sacred forests. Kamigamo-jinja is a UNESO World Heritage shrine which claims to be the oldest shrine in Kyoto (one of many in the ancient city to make this declaration).

Kamo-wake-ikazuchi-jinja (Kamigamo-jinja): San-no-torii and Azekura store house (HDR photo)
NIKON D5200 (18mm, f/3.5, 1/3 sec, ISO100)
Kamo-wake-ikazuchi-jinja (A.K.A. Kamigamo-jinja): San-no-torii and Azekura store house (HDR photo)

Third Torii

Torii 「shrine gate, 鳥居」 mark the entrance to the sacred ground of a shrine. Here at Kamigamo-jinja, all entrances at all sides of the inner shrine grounds feature a torii. This torii, the san-no-torii 「三ノ鳥居」, is the eastern most shrine gate.

Azekura Ancient Log Store House

The logs used to construct this one-room store house 「azekura, 校倉」 are cut into a triangular shape. The logs join at the corners, meaning there are no corner posts in this store house. The store house would hold important shrine artifacts, and is located well away from other shrine buildings to help keep it safe from fire.

Kamigamo-jinja Travel Tip

Explore the surrounding grounds: upon arriving at Kamigamo-jinja, from the first torii a long path directs you towards the inner shrine buildings and main hall. Most tourists would simply follow this path, wander around the inner shrine grounds, and then leave. However Kamigamo-jinja, like many shrine complexes, has several sessha 「auxiliary shrine, 摂社」 which are smaller sub-shrines. There are a handful of these auxiliary shrines around Kamigamo-jinja.

This photo was originally published in the Kamigamo Shrine Travel Guide: containing detailed travel information and 20 photos of the shrine.

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