A Kyoto neighborhood with canals and the city's most venerable shrine
Kamigamo is a neighborhood located along the Kamo River that runs north to south through the city of Kyoto. It is perhaps best known for Shimogamo-jinja Shrine and Shake-machi, a district full of the handsome residences of Shinto priests.
- The Nishimura-ku house, the only shake (traditional priest's house and garden) open to the public
- The Kamigamo Handicraft Market, held on the fourth Sunday of every month
Most of those living in the shake are the descendants of former priests
Only 40 shake remain of the more than 300 that once stood here
How to Get There
The area is best reached by bus.
Take bus 4 or 46 from Kyoto Station to the final stop, Kamigamo-jinja-mae.
To get to the Nishimura residence, walk east following the canal. The house will be on the right.
Kyoto's oldest shrine is no small thing
Kamigamo-jinja Shrine is the oldest shrine in Kyoto , and, along with Shimogamo-jinja , was built in the latter half of the 7th century. Both shrines have been designated as World Heritage sites. There are over 34 structures in Kamigamo Shrine's vast grounds, including the famous Honden and Gonden halls.
Where the priests lived
Along the Myojin River, flowing to the north of Kamigamo Shrine, is a neighborhood called Shake-machi, named for the thirty homes of Shinto priests connected to the shrine. The shake were built on stone foundations and are enclosed with white earthen walls. The area is designated an Important Preservation District for groups of historic buildings.
A pond ringed by mountains
To the east of the shrine is the Midoro Pond. About one kilometer in circumference, the pond is ringed by mountains on three sides, and is home to water plants such as junsai (water shield) and kingyo-mo, a kind of aquatic herb. This is an excellent bird-watching spot.