Matsunoo Taisha Shrine lies at the foot of Mount Matsunoo, along the southern area of Arashiyama. Although it may appear to be relatively modest in comparison to the many famous shrines and temples of Kyoto, it is a significant shrine worshipped by sake and miso brewers, and its three attractive inner gardens are worth a visit.
Founded in 701, one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto
Sake and miso producers frequently patron this shrine
Turtles are a theme throughout the grounds, look out for their presence in the small statues around the shrine
Take the #71 or #28 bus from Kyoto Station to the Matsunootaishazen bus stop.
The gardens on the grounds designed by famous landscape gardener Shigemori Mirei are relatively new, completed in 1975. They known as the “Three Shofuen Gardens.” Joko-no-niwa represents the mountains, Kyokusui-no-niwa recreates an entertainment garden for aristocrats during the Heian period, and Horai-no-niwa is a Kamakura period-style depiction of the Chinese concept of paradise. These gardens are the final work of master gardener Shigemori.
Matsunoo Taisha is a nice side trip from Arashiyama and is also a 10-minute bus ride or 20-minute walk from Saiho-ji temple, famous for its beautiful moss gardens. Be sure to apply in advance for a reservation to visit Saiho-ji temple if you are making it part of your plan.