Asia

Place to visit in Sumizome Station Area, Kyoto

Sumizome station located in Kyoto city, Japan.

Fujinomori Jinja Shrine: Address: 609 Fukakusa Toriizakicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0864, Japan

A shrine located in southern Kyoto, Fujinomori Shrine is said to have been founded by Emperor Jingu even before Kyoto became the capital in the 700s. The origin of Children’s Day was born at Fujinomori Shrine, and today it is known for answering prays in relation to victory, studies, and horse racing. This shrine has a history of connections to the imperial family, and on the grounds there is a sprawling hydrangea garden lovely in June.

History
It is said that Fujinomori Shrine is an ancient place of worship founded 1,800 years ago by Empress Jingu before the relocation of the Heian capital to Kyoto, the place where Empress Jingu supposedly raised a battle flag and mound and dedicated tools of battle. In 794, Fujinomori Shrine was chosen as the location of a ritual carried out for the relocation of the capital.

The Honden (main sanctuary) was constructed in 1712 and donated by Emperor Nakamikado. Since over the years two other shrines were integrated into Fujinomori Shrine, the enshrined deities are separated into three “seats” in the sanctuary and include Susano’o no Mikoto and many which have ties to the imperial family, such as Prince Yamato Takeru, Emperor Ōjin, Empress Jingu, and Emperor Nintoku.

Fujinomori Shrine is known as the shrine that originated the practice of Shōbu no Sekku, (also called Tango no Sekku), which evolved in to what is now celebrated on May 5th in Japan as the more general Children’s Day. Originally, Shōbu no Sekku was celebrated by warrior households to celebrate the courage of boys and pray for a son’s health and strength. Shōbu is the word for Japanese iris, but is also a homophone for the word “victory”, and in modern days the shrine is known as home to the gods of victory and horses, which makes it very popular with people involved in the horseracing industry, from owners and jockeys to fans and bettors.

On May 5th each year Fujinomori Shrine holds the Kakeuma Shinji, a ritual in which men called noriko riders gallop horses full tilt down the shrine’s entrance path while performing tricks such as hanging off the saddle by a single foot or performing shoulder stands, all of which were said to have been practiced by samurai in the past. Though several shrines once performed this sort of festival, only Fujinomori Shrine continues to do so to this day.

NameFujinomori Shrine
Opening hours24 hours [Treasure Hall] 9:00 am – 5:00 pm [Shrine Office] 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closing daysNone *Treasure Hall is closed on May 5
PriceFree
Address609, Toriizaki-cho, Fukakusa, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 京都府京都市伏見区深草鳥居崎町609
AccessAround a 5-minute walk from Fujimori Station
Website (Japanese)http://www.fujinomorijinjya.or.jp

Bokusen ji Temple is about three minutes’ walk from Sumizome Station. There is a legend that a Heian period famed poet, Kamutsukeno Mineo wrote a poem in honor of the death of Fujiwara no Mototsune, and then a pale gray cherry blossom bloomed here. From this episode, it is said that the official temple name Sumizomezakura or ink-stained cherry blossom was given. Straight in from the temple gate there are about 10 cherry trees, and in peak season in April, this small precinct is completely filled with cherry blossoms. Even today, it has a reputation as a hidden cherry blossom spot, and after the lovely Yoshino cherry trees fully bloomed, the somewhat lonely looking white Sumizomezakura cherry blossoms become in full bloom.

Categories: Asia, Travel

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