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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Northern Kyoto
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine 
# 29   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

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Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (kV{, Kitano Tenmangū) is one of the most important of several hundred shrines across Japan that are dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, a scholar and politician who was unfairly exiled by his political rivals. A number of disasters were attributed to Michizane's vengeful spirit after his death in exile, and these shrines were built to appease him.

Sugawara Michizane is associated with Tenjin, the kami ("Shinto god") of education. Consequently, many students visit Kitano Tenmangu to pray for success in their studies. The shrine can become especially crowded with students during exam times and school trip seasons.

Plum Grove

Michizane loved plum trees, and one tree, called tobiume or flying plum tree, is said to have followed him from Kyoto to his exile in Kyushu. Because of this, a plum tree can always be found standing in front of the offering hall of Tenmangu shrines.

In addition to the tobiume tree, Kitano Tenmangu features an entire grove of nearly 2000 trees that bloom from February to March. The shrine hosts a special tea ceremony, called Baikasai, in this plum grove every February 25th, attended by maiko and geiko of the nearby Kamishichiken geiko district.

Maple trees in the garden of Kitano Tenmangu

A few years ago, Kitano Tenmangu also joined the list of Kyoto's autumn color spots, when the shrine started to open its garden to the public during the peak of the autumn leaf season from November to mid December. Hundreds of maple trees line the garden's river and are lit up in the evenings.

Last but not least, a flea market is held on the shrine grounds and surrounding streets on the 25th of every month. Hundreds of vendors selling plants, antiques, tools, toys and crafts are joined by many food stands selling festival food such as yakisoba, karaage and takoyaki.

Flea Market

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How to get there
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine can be directly reached by Kyoto City Bus number 50 or 101 from Kyoto Station (230 yen, 30 minutes). An indirect but perhaps quicker route during rush hours is to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Imadegawa Station and catch the 102 or 203 bus to the shrine. In either case get off at the Kitano Tenmangumae bus stop.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Hours:5:00 to 18:00 (April to September)
5:30 to 17:30 (October to March)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:Free

Flea Market
Hours:25th of every month from 6:00 to 21:00

Plum Grove and Maple Tree Garden
Hours:Early February to mid March and early November to mid December from 10:00 to 16:00.
Autumn illumination from sunset until 20:00 during the autumn leaf season.
Admission:600 yen

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Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
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Tours and Packages
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User Ratings
Ratings for Kitano Tenmangu:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 246 users):
79/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 786):
408.  Historic Village (Sapporo)   80/100
409.  Nakagusuku Castle (Okinawa Island)   80/100
410.  Zoorasia (Yokohama)   79/100
411.  Sumiyoshi Taisha (Osaka)   79/100
412.  Sakaimachi Street (Otaru)   79/100
413.  Kitano Tenmangu (Kyoto)   79/100
414.  Mt. Tenjo Ropeway (Fuji Five Lakes)   79/100
415.  Oshima Island (Matsushima)   79/100
416.  Chionin Temple (Kyoto)   79/100
417.  Katsuren Castle (Okinawa Island)   79/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
130.  Shuri Castle (Okinawa Island)   625
131.  Glover Garden (Nagasaki)   623
132.  Kenchoji Temple (Kamakura)   623
133.  Yakushiji Temple (Nara)   623
134.  Kanazawa Castle (Kanazawa)   617
135.  Kitano Tenmangu (Kyoto)   612
136.  Enoshima (Kamakura)   606
137.  Canal Area (Otaru)   605
138.  Daigoji Temple (Kyoto)   599
139.  Tsukishima (Tokyo)   598

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English Links
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Official website.

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