Ujigami Shrine (宇治上神社, Ujigami Jinja) is believed to be the oldest standing shrine in Japan. Although there is no official record of when it was first constructed, experts estimate that Ujigami Shrine was well established by 1060. It was closely linked to Byodoin Temple as its "guardian shrine".
Ujigami Shrine became recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994 together with other shrines and temples in the Kyoto area. The main hall is built in the nagare-zukuri architectural style, one of the most common shrine architecture styles: a curved asymmetrical roof extends out more on the side of the main entrance than on the opposite side to provide shelter for worshipers.
A hundred meters south of Ujigami Shrine stands Uji Shrine, also built in the nagare-zukuri style. The two shrines used to be one until they were separated during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Ujigami Shrine used to be known as the upper shrine while Uji Shrine was the lower shrine.
Ujigami Shrine is located on the north side of Uji River near the Tale of Genji Museum. It takes about ten minutes to walk there from Keihan Uji Station or 15 minutes from JR Uji Station.
From Byodoin Temple, it is about a ten minute walk across the river via a small island connected by bridges.