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Kamigamo Shrine

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Kamigamo Shrine
Shinto Wedding at Kamigamo Shrine

Kamigamo Shrine is one of the two famous "kamo" shrines of the Kyoto city and is designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1994.  Kamigamo literally means "upper kamo" and this Shrine is the northern part of Kyoto city in Japan.  The other shrine in this pair is called Shimogamo Shrine ("lower Kamo").  This shrine can be easily reached by Bus (long trip though) from the JR Kyoto Station. 

The Kamo shrines were founded by the Kamo clan of the ancient Japan in the later part of seventh century well before the Heian era started.  Enshrined is the goddess of Kamo Wakeikazuchi of the Kamo clan who is the daughter of the enshrined god and goddess at the Shimogamo Shrine.  So, Kamigamo shrine is also known as Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrine. 

This shrine has commanded enough influence among the people of Kyoto since it's foundation. Following the establishment of Heian-kyo (Kyoto city as the capital of Heian era Japan) it attracted many worshipers among the aristocracy as a shrine dedicated to the pacification and preservation of the nation. 

Kamigamo Shrine Seal

The shrine buildings existed in their present form by the beginning of the 11th century, but gradually deteriorated thereafter, and were restored in 1628.  That restoration encompassed the entire shrine precinct, and was carried out with reference to historical records, paintings, and sketches, so as to faithfully reproduce the shrine as it had existed in the Heian period (794-1184).  Following the restoration, the honden (main shrine building) was rebuilt seven times; the present structure and the gonden (associate shrine building) were rebuilt in 1863.

The honden and gonden, both National Treasures, are of the same size and shape, and are situated along an east-west axis.  They were built in the nagare or "flowing" style, with Kohai (prayer porticos) in front.  The elongated front roof or nagare illustrates the ancient style of the main Shrine building's architecture.  In addition to these two structures, the shrine contains a haiden (worship hall) and 33 other shrine buildings, all believed to date from the 1628 restoration, and all designated Important Cultural Properties.  They provided a sense of how Shinto shrines looked since ancient times. 

This shrine is well-known as the setting for a variety of ritual ceremonies and festivals, including the "Aoi Matsuri", one of Kyoto's three major festivals.

This Shrine also hosts many Shinto weddings, you are assured of witnessing at least one wedding, when you visit this Shrine.

Here is a video of the Shrine:

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