Shimogamo Jinja 下鴨神社
A truly conciliatory shrine
The Todasu-no-mori forest embraces and encercles the Shimogamo Jinja like a treasure. The latter is close to another shrine like a brother, the Kamigamo Jinja.
At the mouth of the Kamo and Takano rivers, where visitors are rarer, rests the doyen of Ancestral Kyoto, the oldest shrine in the city and a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The shrine is entered through a traditional torii, the gate to Shinto sites. Within the enclosure, a water inlet winds and leads to the small Mitarashi building, dedicated to the god of purification. Wander between the brightly colored buildings of the site and do not miss the Hondô, the main building, which was rebuilt, identical to the original, in the nineteenth century. The Maidono, rebuilt in its present form in the seventeenth century, was once home to visiting emperors. Every year on May 15th, the historical Heian-kyo parade starts here, the ancient Kyoto for the Aoi Matsuri. The event brings almost as many Kyoto visitors as for New Year, when it is ideal for family trips and prayers within the enclosure.
Formerly, it was customary for the entire Shimogamojinja be destroyed and rebuilt every twenty-one years. Involving very high costs, but today only a dozen or so Shinto constructions are managed this way. Since the Shimogamo Jinja was appointed National Treasury, the practice is limited to the renovation of the site. The Todasu-no-mori forest, "forest where lies are uncovered," finishes the construction of the legend around the sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of the harvest, where hypocrites are reviled.