February 5, 2018
by Mayu Nihari, Ayu Kitora & Yuki Fujimoto
Kurumazaki Shrine (車折神社) is a shrine located in Saga-Ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto prefecture. It is located a little away from Sagano and just between Arashiyama and Uzumasa. This shrine enshrines Yorinari Kiyohara (清原頼業, 1122-1189), who was a Confucian scholar in the late Heian period.
Praying at Kurumazaki shrine has various benefits such as academic success, economic fortune and good relationships. It is especially popular with entertainers, who frequently visit. It is popular as a power spot in Kyoto.
History of Kurumazaki shrine
Originally, in 1189, it is said that the building was constructed to mourn Yorinari Kyohara, who was the predecessor of this shrine. After he died, from his name, Hojyuinden, a temple called Hojyuin was built. This temple existed until the Muromachi period, and when the Tenryu Temple was founded in Arashiyama by Ashikaga Takashi (足利尊氏), it became a branch temple. In addition, many cherry blossom trees were planted in the surroundings because he loved the cherry blossoms. Therefore, as the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, it was called Sakuranomiya.
The origin of Kurumazaki is that when the Gosaga emperor visited Kurumazaki shrine, his car stopped suddenly. He wondered what it was, so he asked people who lived in the shrine. They said that this shrine was dedicated to Yorinari Kiyohara. He was impressed and he conferred upon it the title Kurumazaki.
Mifune festival at Kurumazaki shrine
The Mifune Festival was held for the first time in commemoration of Emperor Showa in 1928. It is held on the third Sunday of May every year, but is cancelled on rainy days. The festival uses boats as a way to pray to the gods. It was held in the Arashiyama River in the Heian period, where it is still held today. It is a traditional event.
First, they do a Japanese ceremony for the appearance for gods. The ceremony is important for gods to move from the shrine to an oxcart. The oxcart goes to the river. Next, they go boating with gods. There are four boats for dedication and gods move to the boats. These boats are called Gozabune, Ryuutoubune, Gekisyusen and Mitomobune. Every year a woman is selected to play the role of Seishonagon (清少納言), and she waves a special fan on the Gozabune. Seishonagon was a historical person and a great poet in Heian Period. Also, Gagaku plays traditional Japanese instruments on the Ryuutoubune. Gagaku is traditional Japanese music and had spread around Japan in Heian period. Besides, some people sing Imayouuta on the gekisyusen. Finally, Mitomobune goes with Gozabune. Mitomobune is just go with Gozabune together, it’s a duty of the boat. Finally, the gods go back to the oxcarts and go to Arashiyamatonguu. Then gods then return to the shrine.
Tessai Tomioka (1836-1924) was a Japanese artist in the Edo period. In Kyoto, he studied history and Buddhism. At first, he served as a priest at Ishigami Zingu (石上人宮) and Otori shrines. After that, he served as a priest at Kurumazaki Shrine. Because of this, there are many his works at Kurumazaki Shrine. There are about 100 works there, and many artists are attracted to them. In addition, he said “I do not paint meaningless pictures.”
Talisman for Entertainers
Inside Kurumazaki Shrine is Geino Shrine, literally the “performing arts shrine,” which is known to help entertainers. As it is said that the god of performing and fine arts is enshrined here, this shrine is extremely popular with a variety of entertainers. You can see a fence around the shrine made from more than 2,000 talismans bearing the names of famous entertainers, such as the singer Atsushi from the popular band EXILE.
Divine Power of Kurumazaki Shrine
The divine power of Kurumazaki shrine is also effective for studies and exams.
It seems that it has an effect on conventions and management, too.
It is effective for promises at the individual level, for lovers, money making, company contracts of shops, etc. For example, you can pray to borrow money, pay back lent money, and becoming better at the management of your household economics.
Power Stone Amulets
Kurumazaki Shrine is often associated with its power stone amulet called Kinen Shinseki. Before you receive a Kinen Shinseki, your must rinse your hands and mouth at the temizuya, a place for ritual cleansing of hands and mouth with water when visiting shrines. Then you worship at Kiyome no Yashiro to purify yourself.
After that, you can receive a Kinen Shinseki. When we went there, there were two types of Kinen Shinseki: a portable amulet (700 yen) and a household amulet (500 yen). Both types have sacred stones in them.
Finally, in front of the main shrine building, put your power stone amulet between your hands and make your wish with all your heart. Those who are in show business have to visit Geino Shrine after that, and do the same thing there, too. They carry the portable Kinen Shinseki every day, or put the household Kinen Shinseki somewhere in your home higher than eye-level and pray to it every day. If your wish comes true, fetch one stone from a mountain, a river or your home yard, and write a thank-you message on it. Then bring it to the shrine and place it in front of the main shrine building. Also, return your Kinen Shinseki to the box by the main shrine building.
Kurumazaki Shrine is one of the traditional places in Kyoto. It is located between Arashiyama and Uzumasa. It enshrines Yorinari Kiyohara, who served the Emperor during the Heian period. Many stones are dedicated to the main shrine. We highly recommend going to Kurumazaki shrine. Especially, you will be able to see a very beautiful view of cherry blossoms in the spring.
Kurumazaki Shrine is open to the public from 9:00 am to 17:00 pm and admission is free. It takes 35 minutes by bus from JR Kyoto Station. Alternatively, get off at the Keifuku Dentetsu station ‘Kurumazaki Shrine’.
Keifuku Railway ”Kurumazaki-jinja Station”Near
Hankyu Train ”Arashiyama Station”（A 20-minute walk）
JR Sanin Line “Saga Arashiyama Station”（A 15-minute walk）
Address: 23 Sagaasahicho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto
Open:8:00 a.m〜5:30 p.m