HEIAN SHRINE

The Heian Jingu or Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Kyoto. The title “Jingu” indicates that this is an “imperial shrine,” dedicated to the memory of an emperor. It is dedicated to two emperors actually, Emperor Kanmu and Emperor Kōmei, the first and last Heian Emperors respectively.  Emperor Konin and ascended to the throne in 781 as the 50th Emperor of Japan. In the year 793, the seat of government was moved to the new capital called the Heian Capital. In 796, the Emperor Kanmu held an audience for the first time at the Daigoku-den Palace at which dignitaries celebrated the New Year. This marked the beginning of Kyoto.   Emperor Komei was born in 1831 as the crown prince of Emperor Ninko and acceded to the throne in 1847 as the 121st ruler of Japan. He was the last Emperor to reign from Kyoto as the Capital was moved to Edo (modern day Tokyo) by the Emperor Meji. For more than 1,000 years, until the Meiji Restoration, Kyoto prospered as the capital of Japan.

The shrine it's self is relatively new, having been built in 1895. The Giant
Torii  on the street outside the main gate is the largest of any Shinto Shrine in Japan. It towers above the street at 79' tall and spans both lanes at 111' wide. The orange, green, and white buildings of Heian Jingu are intended to be replicas of the old Kyoto Imperial Palace (destroyed in 1227), at two-thirds the original size. The shrine encompasses over 36,000 sq yards, an located on the grounds are four separate gardens.

There are three stroll gardens at Heian Jingu, positioned east, west, and north of the shrine itself. They follow the Heian aesthetic of focusing on a large pond, which is a rare feature at a Shinto shrine. The stepping-stone path that crosses the water is made from the pillars of a 16th-century bridge that spanned the Kamo-gawa before an earthquake destroyed it. Shinen Garden, which is entered on the left as you face the main hall, should not be missed. Typical of gardens constructed during the Meiji Era, it's famous for its weeping cherry trees in spring, its irises and water lilies in summer, and its changing maple leaves in the fall.

Heian Jingu is the destination of the Jidai Matsuri, one of the three most important festivals of Kyoto. Held annually on October 22, it celebrates the founding of Kyoto and includes a huge, colorful procession. A parade of over 3,000 people attired in costumes from every period of Kyoto history winds its way from the original site of the Imperial Palace to the Heian Jingu.

 

 

 

Shrine and Courtyard

 

 

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