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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kyoto Heian Shrine Torii Gate

Heian Shrine, Kyoto京都平安神宮の鳥居

In the Okazaki section of Kyoto, in the heart of the city's museum area, stands the massive torii gate leading to Heian Jingu Shrine.

The torii is one of the largest in Japan. It is 24.2 meters tall, and the supporting beams are 3.63 meters in diameter.

This torii is located on the road between the Kyoto Municipal Museum (behind the pine trees at the right of the photo) and, on the opposite side of the road, the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art.

The shrine itself was built in 1895 to celebrate the 1,100 anniversary of the founding of Heiankyo (the ancient name for Kyoto). The shrine itself doesn't compare to the better known temples and shrines littered throughout the city, but the gardens are worth a visit.

Heian Shrine's main claim to fame is that it plays host to the annual Jidai Matsuri Festival. Unless you have an interest in period dress - "Jidai Matsuri" literally means historical period festival - it is a rather tame affair. College students are hired to parade throughout the city in costumes representing various periods in the city's history.

In addition to the above museums, the Kyoto Zoo, the Miyako Messe (a large convention hall), the Hosomi Museum, and of course Heian Jingu Shrine are a short walk.

Access

From JR/Kintetsu Kyoto Station, take bus #5 from boarding area A1 headed for Iwakura Soshajo. Get off at Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae. From Hankyu Karasuma Station/Kawaramachi Station or Keihan Sanjo Station Kyoto City Bus No. 5 (headed for Iwakura Soshajo). Get off at Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae. Or a five-minute walk from the Higashiyama Station on the Tozai subway line

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