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Heian Shrine

An important shrine for patriotic locals and curious tourists alike, this site has charming buildings and natural gardens that celebrate Kyoto’s fusion of past and present.

The Heian Shrine is a site of simple beauty and reflection. Built in 1895 on the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto, the sanctuary pays homage to spirits of the country’s emperors. It blends artifice with nature in its museums and traditional gardens. Japan has designated the site as an important cultural property and one of the highest-ranking shrines of its kind.

Walk through the majestic Torii gate as you approach the shrine. Take photos of the main buildings, a scaled-down version of the original imperial palace from the Heian epoch. Attend the Jidai Festival, which takes place on October 22 every year, the anniversary of Kyoto’s birth. Enjoy parades of Japanese marchers in traditional dress from assorted historical periods. Weddings, concerts and other events are held throughout the year.

Embrace the Minami Shin’en garden in the south in April to take advantage of the spacious cherry blossom gardens in full bloom. Peruse the grounds’ various plants and ponds. Feed the fish and rare wildlife, including the yellow and Japanese pond turtles. Tread the stone pillar walkway in the middle garden, which is known as Naka Shin’en. Admire the scenery with a backdrop of the Higashiyama hills in the Higashi Shin’en area to the east. There is an admission fee for the gardens.

The Heian Shrine stands in memory of Emperors Kanmu (8th century) and Komei (19th century). They were the first and final leaders to reign from Kyoto. By the entrance stand a couple of attractions, including the Museum of Modern Art and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art.

The shrine is located in the northeastern region of the city. Nearby attractions include the temples of Shinnyodo, Eikando and Nanzen-ji. The Philosopher’s Walk is only a short distance to the east. Bus rides take half an hour from the city’s principal transportation hub, Kyoto Station, to the shrine. Higashiyama Station is less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away on foot.


Guide to Exploring around Heian Shrine


Lodging Near Heian Shrine

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CROSS HOTEL KYOTO

CROSS HOTEL KYOTO

    3.5 out of 5.0
     
     

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Sanjo Keihan ...

    CROSS HOTEL KYOTOAU$139

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

    RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

      4.0 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple ...

      RIHGA Royal Hotel KyotoAU$134

      SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier

      SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier

        3.5 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi are also within 15 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae ...

        SOLARIA Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto PremierAU$193

        Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

        Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

        84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
          4.5 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in Sanjo, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market and Chion-in Temple. Heian Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within ...

          Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGalleryAU$243

          Kyoto Hotel Okura

          Kyoto Hotel Okura

          604-8558 Kawaramachi-Oike,Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
            4.5 out of 5.0
             
             

            This family-friendly Kyoto hotel is located in the business district, within a 10-minute walk of Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi ...

            Kyoto Hotel OkuraAU$224

            THE MILLENNIALS KYOTO

            THE MILLENNIALS KYOTO

              2.5 out of 5.0
               
               
              4.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

              Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae ...

              THE MILLENNIALS KYOTOAU$62

              Ryokan KANADE

              Ryokan KANADE

                4.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Situated in Kyoto, this ryokan is within a 15-minute walk of Heian Shrine and Nanzenji Temple. Kyoto University and Philosopher's Walk are also within 1 mile ...

                Ryokan KANADEAU$172

                The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

                The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

                  4.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae ...

                  The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto SanjoAU$175

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