Rokusonno-jinja (Kyoto), Cherry blossoms and red lanterns in the shrine's grounds


Cherry Trees Lining a Lantern Alley in Kyoto

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Rokusonno-jinja is a small Shinto shrine located to the south-west of Kyoto Station, in the Kansai area. The place’s attractiveness is at its peak during the cherry blossoms seasons, when thousands of sakura flowers beautifully surround its main alley, lined with red toro lanterns.

Kyoto’s must-see sakura 🌸 spots are usually overflowing with both foreign and Japanese tourists in spring, and it is not unusual to be shoulder to shoulder to take pictures or simply watch the beautiful blossoms. For those who don’t like crowds, we recommend to try less magnificent places, that have a quieter but nonetheless charming character. One of them is Rokusonno-jinja, a shrine located a few minutes’ walk away from Kyoto Station’s south exit.

At the peak of the cherry blossoms period, this rather classical and small enclosure becomes an attractive address in Kyoto to watch the sakura in a traditional Shinto scenery. Framed by several trees in bloom, the main alley successively unfolds:

  • A taiko-bashi arch bridge;
  • Karamon gate; and,
  • Lastly a worship pavilion.

While the paved walkway is not very long, it is carefully lined with rows of cherry trees and toro lanterns 🏮, creating a beautiful view. The pale pink of the flowers, the bright red of the Shinto elements and the soft green of the bushes harmoniously associate together to make a sight very pleasing to the eyes.

As a matter of fact, during the few days of the blooming peak, it is not unusual to encounter professional photographers taking wedding pictures with couples dressed in kimono 👘. Other, less popular, bloomings take place later in spring, such as wisterias and peonies.

Rokusonno-jinja (Kyoto), Cherry blossoms and red lanterns in the shrine's grounds 3

One of the 3 Genji shrines

Rokusonno-jinja was initially a village shrine dedicated to Minamoto no Tsunemoto (894 - 961), a prince of the imperial family in the Heian period (794 – 1185) who was made a Shinto kami deity and whose grave is located in the shrine's grounds. He was the grandson of emperor Seiwa and known for founding the Seiwa Genji lineage (清和源氏), one of the most powerful branches of the Minamoto clan. For example, the founder of the Kamakura bakufu, shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147 - 1199) was born into this branch of the family.

Two other shrines are related to Rokusonno-jinja:

  • Tada-jinja (多田神社) in Kawanishi City (Hyogo Prefecture), and,
  • Tsuboi Hachimangu (壺井八幡宮) in Habikino City (Osaka prefecture),

They form the group of the 3 Genji shrines, in Japanese 源氏三神社 Genji-san jinja.

The deity Benzaiten, one of the 7 Lucky Gods of Japan, is also worshiped here and a festival dedicated to her on June 13 each year.

⬇️ Further down this page, discover our visit guide in Rokusonno-jinja and around.
By Kanpai Updated on April 12, 2024 Rokusonno-jinja