Kamigamo Shrine   上賀茂神社

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Kamigamo Jinja

Kamigamo Jinja under the snow.

Kamigamo Jinja

The sand cones, symbols of the place.

The Sands of Time

What a strange paradox that this place dedicated to Kamo Wake-Ikazuchi, the Shinto  god of thunder, is so peaceful. Yet the nearby town seems to be so far away. Only the birds come to break the silence, by vibrating the air of  the majestic Kamigamo Shrine with their cheerful trills.

A long driveway leads visitors straight to Kamigamo shrine. Two monumental torii (scarlet gates) mark the entrance. It was built in 678, before the establishment of Kyoto as the capital in 794, and replaced by Tokyo in 1868.

Two sand cones that the Shinto monks erected meticulously every morning are the symbols of the place. Sometimes topped with a pine branch, they are said to have a purifying effect as they are a point of contact between the kami (Shinto deities) and our world.

On May 15th of each year, together with its neighbor Shimogamo-Jinja, the sanctuary is home to one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, the Aoi Matsuri. The rest of the year, many farmers come from the surrounding countryside offering some fruits of their labor to the gods. There are many opportunities to spot daikon (long white radish, typical of East Asia). 

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