Straddling the border between Mt. Kibune and Mt. Kurama at the northern tip of the Rakuhoku district, it is believed that Kifune-jinja Shrine has been a place of worship since ancient times. But the exact date of its founding is unknown. Legend has it that the upper course of the Kibune River was worshipped as the shrine of kifune (yellow boat) around the time of the 18th Emperor Hanzei, about 1,600 years ago. The shrine is classified as a Myojin Taisha, or a shrine home to a deity known as Myojin, which some say has enacted some remarkable miracles since ancient times. The shrine's main sanctuary is divided into the Motomiya (main shrine), Yui no yashiro or Nakamiya (middle shrine) and Okumiya (rear shrine); the Motomiya and Okumiya are 700 meters apart. There is a way of worshipping called ”Sanshamairi,” where according to tradition if you visit the Motomiya, Nakamiya, and then Okumiya in that order, your wishes will come true. Also enshrined here is the spirit of water, Takaokami no kami, which has been worshipped since ancient times by people with jobs associated with water praying for rain. Many people also worship a god of marriage at Kifune-jinja Shrine.
Collect sacred water that springs from the stone wall
Springwater from Mt. Kibune gushes from the stone wall of the Motomiya. It is mildly alkaline natural water of good quality and drinkable. The water is free for you to take, just bring your own container. The water cools you down in summer and delivers a feeling of mystical warmth in winter. The shrine sells its original container that can hold 600 ml water.
Try some mystical hydromancy, popular with overseas visitors
Why not try some hydromancy at the Motomiya when visiting Kifune-jinja Shrine? Simply set an omikuji (paper slip with an invisible fortune written on it) on the waters of the spring, and characters will appear that spell out your fortune. The omikuji has a QR code that shows your result in either English, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, or Korean according to your device's settings. Since free Wi-Fi is available in the grounds, it's easy to casually enjoy some hydromancy.
A place brimming with sacred energy—Okumiya, the birthplace of Kifune-jinja Shrine
Kifune-jinja Shrine was founded at the location of the current Okumiya, which was previously treated as the Motomiya. The legend of Kifune-jinja Shrine says that when Tamayorihime-no-Mikoto travelled on a kifune (yellow boat) up the rivers, she found a sacred spring (fukii) where the current Okumiya stands. She then enshrined the deity of water at the place and named it ”Kifune no Miya (the shrine of Kifune).” The sacred spring is believed to be the current Ryuketsu (dragon cave), which lies below the main building of the Okumiya. Beside the main building is the Funagata-ishi (a boat-shaped stone) that is believed to have covered Kifune to keep it hidden from sight. A divine atmosphere surrounds the stone.
Yui no yashiro (Nakamiya) attracts people praying for marriage
Situated between the Motomiya and Okumiya, Yui no yashiro is known as a deity of marriage. A poet of the Heian period, Izumi Shikibu, visited the shrine to pray for reconciliation with her husband. Her wish was fulfilled. Look around the grounds for a monument inscribed with a poem by Izumi Shikibu.
180, Kuramakibunecho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 601-1112
- Nearest Station
･ Eizan Dentetsu-kurama Line
30 minutes on foot
- Phone Number
075-741-2016Available languagesonly in Japanese
6:00am - 8:00pm
*Changes with the season
- Public Site
- Official Site
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