With a history stretching back more than 1,000 years, the peaceful Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto's northwestern suburbs is one of the most significant religious sites in the whole of Japan.
The shrine was originally built in honour of scholar Sugawara no Michizane – the ‘god of academics’ - who lived during the Heian period . The site in Kyoto was the first to be dedicated to him, and today more than 10,000 similar shrines exist around Japan.
Most days, tourists and locals alike journey to these serene grounds enjoyed, with the location being especially popular with Japanese students who pray for good exam results. However, on the 25 th day of each month, the area is transformed into a lively marketplace.
Hundreds of stalls would be set up in and around the shrine to form Kitano Tenmangu Flea Market (also known as Tenjin-san market) with vendors selling everything from used clothes to antiques. Popular items for tourists include second-hand kimonos and Japanese anime and manga collectibles.
The shrine is particularly stunning during February and March when the hundreds of plum trees growing in the grounds come into bloom.
- (+81) 075-461-0005
- Bakurocho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-8386
- Buses from JR Kyoto Station are the most convenient option. Services 50 and 101 stop just outside the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Alternatively, Kitanohakubaicho Station (Kitano Tram Line) is just a few minutes’ walk from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, but the tram is not directly linked with the city’s main train or subway networks. To transfer to the tram line, travel to Uzumasa Station from JR Kyoto Station (Hashidate Line or San-in Line). From here, it is a 4-minute walk to Satsueisho-mae Station where you can board the Kitano Tram Line.