Spiritual Spots in Kyoto

(Beauty water), spring water from Utsukushi-Gozensha located within the Yasaka Shrine precincts

Spiritual Spots in Kyoto

Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan. There are almost 2,000 temples and shrines, and various spiritual spots, where people can get spiritual power and relax just by being there. Kyoto is truly the spiritual heart of Japan. Here are some good places to see in Kyoto the next time you visit.

Spiritual spot of beauty?!
A must-see shrine for women and a chocolate specialty store in Gion

In this time, we would like to introduce two recommended spots in the Gion (1) area where you can stroll around in kimono (2).

A shrine said to be a spiritual spot for beauty

Yasaka Shrine is a classic sightseeing spot in Kyoto. The Gion Festival, known as one of the three major festivals in Japan, is a festival held at Yasaka Shrine to pray for national peace and to ward off epidemics.

In one corner of this famous shrine is the Utsukushi-Gozensha, a spiritual spot for beauty. The shrine enshrines three goddesses, the Munakata Sanjoshin (3) (Three Munakata Goddesses). It is said that many people in the beauty industry, including gei-maiko (geisha) (4) and maiko (apprentice geisha), visit the shrine. It is believed that visiting this shrine will make you beautiful.

There is spring water which is highly spiritual right next to the shrine. This beauty water is known to not only protect the health of your skin, but also beautify your mind. I put a few drops on my skin and wished the water to make me beautiful in body and soul.

Gion Chocolate Specialty Shop

After leaving from Yasaka Shrine, I head toward Hanamikoji (5) from Shijo Street. Walking along the stone-paved street with a Kyoto-like atmosphere, you will see the curtain of “Malebranche Kakao 365 Gion Store”.

Kakao 365 Gion is a chocolate store run by Kyoto Kitayama Malebranche. The store is like a work of art with its well-mannered rows of various types of chocolates. The bonbon chocolates (6), called “Kyou no sora,” are designed with Kyoto’s temples, shrines, and famous landmarks such as “Arashiyama (7),” “Kinkakuji (8),” and “Gion,” and each one offers a different taste, texture, and flavor. I was so excited to see the colorful, jewel box-like showcase.

The interior of the store has a calm Japanese atmosphere with subdued lighting and room decorations. You can watch the confectioners at work through the glass. There is also a tsuboniwa garden (9), which is said to be very beautiful on snowy days. One of the most surprising things to me was the ceiling. I was overwhelmed by the delicate designs of the 24 solar terms (10) on the ceiling. The chocolates in the shape of Kakao-chan, the mascot character of Kakao 365, is also very cute. The chocolatier is like a small museum filled with many other interesting things to see.

Yasaka Shrine” and “Malebranche Kakao 365 Gion” are in the Gion area of Kyoto.

If you’re interested in beauty and chocolate, this is for you!

Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Utsukushi-Gozensha in the precincts of Yasaka Shrine

Wonderful 24-Season Chart.

Kyoto City sightseeing map made of “Kyou no sora,” (The bonbon chocolates).

Yasaka Shrine
625 Gion-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0073
(Reception at the shrine office)
FB: @kyotogionyasakasan
IG: @kyotogionyasaka
YouTube: @kyotogionyasakasan

Mar Blanche Kakao 365 Gion Ten
570-150, South side, Gion-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074
(Business hours) 10am-5pm
FB: @malebranchekyoto
IG: @malebranchekyoto

  1. Gion is located in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, and is a representative downtown and entertainment district of Kyoto.
  2. Kimono is one of Japan’s traditional garments that is carefully made one by one by craftsmen using traditional methods handed down from generation to generation.
  3. A generic name for the three goddesses enshrined throughout Japan, with Munakata Shrine (Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture) as the main shrine.
  4. Women who entertain with their art such as dancing, singing, and shamisen playing are called geiko or maiko.
  5. Hanamikoji is one of the north-south streets in Kyoto City. Both sides of the street are lined with temples, shrines, and spots where visitors can become familiar with traditional performing arts. In the area lined with teahouses, electric wires have been reclaimed and visitors can enjoy a view reminiscent of the atmosphere of old Kyoto.
  6. Bonbon” means “bite-sized sugar candy,” and in the chocolate industry it refers to “bite-sized chocolates with fillings inside.
  7. Arashiyama is a 382-meter-high mountain located in the western part of Kyoto City. It is a tourist attraction with many temples and shrines.
  8. Kinkakuji is a temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf.
  9. A tsubo-niwa is a type of very small garden in Japan.
  10. The 24 solar terms are the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter, each of which is further divided into six.

Float a piece of paper with your wish written on it in the Narano Ogawa.

Two different types of stones stuck together! Wish stone (Yin-Yang stone)

World Heritage Site Kamigamo Shrine and Restaurant for an extraordinary experience

The Kamigamo area in Kita-ku, Kyoto City, going north on Kamo Kaido along the Kamo River, is the destination of this visit.

Kamigamo Shrine, a spiritual spot to purify mind and body

First, we went to Kamowake Ikazuchi-jinja Shrine, commonly called Kamigamo Shrine, which is known as the oldest shrine in Kyoto and is registered as one of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage “Ancient Capital of Kyoto”.

After passing through the first and second torii (1) gates, the triangular pyramid-shaped sand cone catches the eye. It is said that the triangular pyramid is shaped like a divine mountain on which the gods descended, and pine leaves are placed on the top of the pyramid, forming a pair of yin and yang (2). The vermilion-colored gate of the temple is bright to the eye, and once inside the gate, the atmosphere inside is solemn and tense. There is a clear stream running through the temple grounds, and I felt refreshed and relaxed.

The “Narano Ogawa (3)” where the Saio-dai (4) purifies his hands in the Misogi (5) ritual during the “Aoi Matsuri (6)”, the most colorful festival in Kyoto in May. As they stooped down to play misogi, the sun shone and the surface of the river sparkled, creating a very beautiful scene.

Have you ever heard of the “wishing stone” at Kamigamo Shrine? I have visited Kamigamo Shrine many times since I was a child, but this was the first time I touched the “wishing stone. You touch it with both hands at the same time and receive power. Please try to find it.

Coffee brewed with water from Kamigamo Shrine

Unusually for a shrine, there is a permanent café. “Koyamayusui Coffee Sen” is located near the western torii gate. The area is a place where visitors can sit on beautifully curved cypress benches and enjoy a cup of coffee that goes well with ” Koyamayusui,” a famous water developed jointly with Ajinomoto AGF. Coffee in the majestic World Cultural Heritage site tasted exceptionally delicious.

Kamo Ikazuchi-jinja Shrine (Kamigamo Shrine)
339 Kamigamo Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047
(Business hours: 8am-5pm)
FB: @kyotogionyasakasan
IG: @kamigamojinja.official

Koyamayusui Coffee Sen
IG: @ko_yama_yusui.coffee

Koyamayusui Coffee Sen : Mellow coffee with a roasted flavor

Lunch at a museum-like mansion

After visiting the shrine, I visited the elegant members-only clubhouse “AIC Akitsushima Kyoto” located a 10-minute walk from Kamigamo Shrine. AIC Akitsushima Kyoto is a guesthouse that took eight years from conception to completion by the owner, who runs an education-related business centering on an international school, and who wanted to have a place to deepen exchanges with distinguished guests and alumni. The mansion and its gardens were so difficult to describe that it was simply a series of sighs of admiration.

The garden is meticulously cared for in every corner, and the sound of water is gentle to the ears, creating a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The garden is blessed with cherry blossoms in spring, fireflies in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and snow in winter. On this day, daffodils were in lovely bloom, welcoming us.

The first eye-catching thatched gate welcomes guests.

Japanese garden with the sound of murmuring water

The gallery is a luxurious space where visitors can view precious works of art up close and personal, including Old Baccarat and Chagall paintings as seen in art magazines and catalogs, Herend, Riadlo, and many other authentic works of art, all casually displayed. Many small birds and dragonflies are hidden here, so it is a pleasure to look for them.

It is used for wedding dinners, parties with friends, various events and lessons, and some of the restaurants and other facilities are also open to visitors. A guided tour of the museum (for a fee) is also highly recommended.

If you are visiting Kyoto, why not visit the World Cultural Heritage sites in Kamigamo area? You will be able to spend an exquisite day with your loved ones!

Cute hippo stool

Lladro chandelier

Open restaurant space facing the pool

AIC Akitsushima Kyoto
10-55 Asatsuyugahara-cho, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8035
(Business hours: 11:30am-9pm)
FB: @aicakitsushimakyoto
IG: @aicakitsushimakyoto_

  1. It is a kind of “gate” at the entrance to a shrine. It represents the boundary between the sacred place inside the shrine and the place where humans live outside. In addition to serving as a gateway to the shrine and as a symbol of the shrine, torii are also said to serve as a boundary that prevents the entry of impure things into the shrine.
  2. Originating in Chinese thought, it classifies all things in the universe into two categories, yin and yang, from various perspectives.
  3. It refers to the river flowing through the precincts of Kamigamo Shrine where worshippers wash their hands. The name comes from the cool autumn breeze that blows on the river as the wind rustles the leaves of the oak trees that grow in the shrine’s forest.
  4. Saio’s agent. The Saio is an unmarried imperial princess who served as a priestess at the Kamo Shrine.
  5. The act of bathing in Shintoism to purify oneself by removing sins and impurities.
  6. A festival which is held on May 15 (the day of the rooster in April of the lunar calendar) at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine.