Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heian-Jinguu (Heian-Shrine)ーKyoto

I found a big gateway (to a Shinto shrine).
This is your guide when you visit "Heian Jinguu".
This is one of the largest in Japan.

"Heian-Jinguu" was built in 1895.
It is a restoration of ancient Imperial Palace,"Heian-Kyou",11-12th century.
The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Kanmu and Emperor Koumei.
Kanmu moved the capital to Heian-Kyou,and Koumei was the last before Emperor Meiji,
who moved the capital to Tokyo.

This is "Outen-mon".(応天門)
This is also a restoration of the main gate of ancient Imperial Palace.(5/8 size)
This is really big gate...
This is "Daigokuden".
More than 1000 years ago,this palace served as the imperial residence and the administrative centre of Japan for most of the Heian Period (from 794 to 1185).

The architecture mirrors the style and features of the Ancient Imperial Palace.

Two women are taking a walk in a shrine,having a pleasant chat.
This is "Souryuu-Rou".
"Souryuu" means "Azure Dragon".
In China,"Azure Dragon" is a guardian deity of East direction.
That is why this tall building is located east of the premises.

According to Chinese constellation,
"White tiger" guards West direction,
"Vermilion Bird" guards South direction,
"Black Tortoise" guards North direction.

The Four Symbols are four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations.
Each one of them represents a direction and a season of the year,and each has its own individual characteristics and origins.

This constellation was brought into Japan from China in ancient times.
And this constellation influenced Emperor Kanmu.
He regarded this Chinese constellation highly when he built this Palace.

This is "Byakko-Rou".
"Byakko" means "White Tiger".
So this building is located west of the premises.

"Souryu-Rou" and "Byakko-Rou" make a pair architecture.
They are stunning.

And this big shrine has a beautiful garden,called "Shin-en".
In April,this garden is covered with a profusion of flowers!
You can't miss it.
I'll show it on my next post.

To be continued...


  1. Thank you, Kumiko, for the many explanations! I am waiting for the next post too. This is a place I will visit for sure, as I will stay somewhere very near this shrine.

  2. @Traveling Hawk,
    You're welcome,Traveling Hawk.
    In ancient times,Japan's capital was here,Kyoto.
    Not Tokyo. It is important.
    This shrine is a reproduction of ancient Kyoto Imperial palace,and it shows us how prosperous and elegant it was.