December 14, 2017
by David Gurogan, Ema Maeda & Tsukasa Ishibashi
History tells us that Shimogamo is the place where Mitarashi Dango was born. We recommend you to visit Shimogamo and taste the flavor of traditional Japanese sweat sweet Mitarashi Dango. It is small balls made of rice flour, traditionally served on a wooden stick. While you are in Shimogamo, you should visit the Shimogamo Shrine as well. Shimogamo Shrine is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. But why a shrine? You might think it`s got nothing to do with Mitarashi Dango. Actually they are connected. To take some examples: the river in the premise premises of the Shimogamo Shrine is called Mitarashi River and; there is festival called Mitarashi Matsuri. According to the shrine`s website, “On the day of Doyoo-no-Ushi, a full 18 days before the traditional beginning of autumn in August, the shrine hosts Mitarashi a foot bathing. Thousands people flock to the pond in front of shrine.” For that matter, Shimogamo and Mitarashi Dango are well and truly connected. Moreover, the name Mitarashi originates in bubbles of Mitarashi pond, which is located inside of the shrine. Therefore, visiting Shimogamo and Shimogamo Shrine gives you opportunity to feel the history of Mitarashi Dango. Nowadays, Mitarashi Dango is a popular sweet, in Japan so you can get it wherever you want. But here in Shimogamo you will be able to taste the traditional Mitarashi Dango and its history together by visiting Shimogamo Shrine just around the corner.
In addition, Shimogamo Shrine offers much more, for instance the place is known as one of the most powerful “Power-Spots”. Which means it is a spiritual place that people can get power from there. Of course, you can draw a fortune slip as well. In summary we recommend you to visit Shimogamo in order to taste traditional Mitarashi Dango and Shimogamo Shrine to feel the history. This is to say make your first ever Mitarashi Dango experience much better.
Mitarashi Dango is near the Shimogamo shrine, and all connected together. Mitarashi Dango originated from Mitarashi Festival in the Shimogamo shrine. The origin of Mitarashi Dango has actually two stories. One of them takes place about five hundred years ago, during the Kamakura Era (1583), near a pond called “Mitarashi Ike”. At that time, the Emperor was Godaigo. He visited the Shimogamo shrine, and he was And then, he found a bubble came up and constantly four bubbles followed. After that, the Dango was designed separated with one Dango on the top and four of them are sticking together further down the stick. Another story is that the Dango was sold in the precinct and it became more popular. The top Dango is a bit bigger and the others were smaller than the top, so it represented the human.