Yuki Shrine was moved to Kurama in 940 from downtown Kyoto to protect the area from evil. Dotted with ancient cedars, it is a beautiful oasis in the northern mountains.
Yuki Shrine is easy to reach by train.
Take the Keihan line to Demachiyanagi. Transfer to the Eizan Line, and get off at Kurama Station.
The shrine sits at the base of Mt. Kurama on the grounds of Kurama-dera Temple, although it is a separate entity. It features many intricately designed structures from the Momoyama period (1568-1598).
One of the most memorable features of Yuki Shrine is a monolithic 800- year-old cedar which stands 53 meters tall in front of the main hall. It is believed to be a yorishiro, an object that attracts kami, or spirits, in Shinto Buddhism.
To mark it as a sacred object, the tree is wrapped with a shimenawa, or rope, which is decorated with paper streamers. The ancient cedar is thought to be imbued with special powers and make dreams come true to those who pray to it.
The famous Kurama Fire Festival honors Yuki Shrine. This dramatic festival occurs on October 22. It begins at sundown, when men of the village light heavy torches and parade through the village, ending at the shrine.