Yasaka Shrine

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The main gates of Yasaka Shrine.
  • Established: 876
  • Other Names: 祇園社 (Gion-sha)
  • Japanese: 八坂神社 (Yasaka jinja)

Yasaka Shrine, known as Gion Shrine up until the Meiji period, is the central Shinto shrine in Kyoto's Gion district. The shrine faces Shijô-dôri, and backs on Maruyama Park.

The shrine shares its origin with the Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival). In 876, the priest Enjo established the shrine, and invited Emperor Gozu, the kami of preventing illnesses, to the site, in the hopes of combatting the diseases and disasters that Kyoto was suffering from at the time.

The Western Gate of the shrine, facing Higashiyama-dôri, is said to date to the Muromachi period, and has been designated an Important Cultural Property. The main hall (honden) is also an Important Cultural Property, and is said to have previously belonged to Kankei-ji, a Buddhist temple founded by Fujiwara no Mototsune in the early Heian period.

Yasaka Shrine is dedicated to Susano-o-no-Mikoto, Kushinada-hime-no-Mikoto, and their son Yahashira-kami, and is a particularly popular site for New Year's visits.

The shrine suffered significant damage in a fire in 1867 (Keiô 2/12/6) which destroyed the main worship hall (Haiden), main and middle gates, and other structures.[1] Most of these structures were later rebuilt.


  • Plaques on-site.
  1. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 6, (1937), 721.

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