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Kitano Tenmangu Shrine 北野天満宮

Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

Pray for academic success at this ancient shrine

Tucked away in the northwest of Kyoto near the famous Golden Pavilion, Kitano Tenmangu is a historic and important shrine.

How to Get There

Kitano Tenmangu is best accessed by bus.

From Kyoto Station, take Kyoto City bus 5O or 101 and get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae bus stop.

A students' sanctuary

The god of knowledge and calligraphy—the acclaimed Japanese scholar Sugawara no Michizane—has guarded this shrine since its founding in 947. It is thus popular with local students, who visit to ask the god for good grades and exam results.

The approach to the tower gate is flanked by two bronze cows. Legend has it that if you rub them, you will have academic success. Not surprisingly, their heads and backs have been rubbed until they're shiny and golden.

Plum blossoms in February

Besides its array of meticulously decorated buildings, Kitano Tenmangu is known for its ume (plum tree) orchard that blooms from February to March. Although Japan is most famous for its cherry blossoms, plum blossoms are equally exquisite and draw a more local crowd.

One of Kyoto's best flea markets

Once a month on the 25th, the Tenjin-san flea market is held on the streets surrounding the shrine from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Get there early to score the best deals from an array of local and specialized items including vintage kimono and antiques.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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