# Kyoto

Further exploring Uji, Kyoto ~ Ujikami Jinjya Shrine & Mimuroto-Ji Temple

Coming from Byodoin Temple, we continued on to Ujikami Jinjya Shrine (aka. Ujigami Jinjya, 宇治上神社). Ujikami Jinjya is registered as one of the World heritage in Kyoto by UNESCO (Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto). This Shrine is located close to Byodoin temple, why not come and visit when you go to Uji city?
It’s is unsure when and why this shrine was built, but it is know that Ujikami Jinjya and the Uji Jinjya (宇治神社) that’s located close to this shrine are seen as a set. Before the Meiji era, Ujikami Jinjya are seen as the main shrine and Uji Jinjya is being seen as the “younger shrine.” Together the two shrines are called Ujirikyu Myojin (宇治離宮明神).
Entrance of Ujikami Jinjya Shrine

At Ujikami jinjya, you can find the last “living” water among the seven famous water of Uji (宇治七名水), Kiriharamizu (桐原水). It is the only place where water are still coming out from the grounds. The seven famous water is Uji were said to be the important water for Uji tea.

And this famous water is now for you to wash your hand before worshiping at the shrine. In Japan you have to purify your mind and body before worshiping at shrines and temples, you mainly will be washing your hands and rinsing your mouth.
Kiriharamizu at Ujikami Jinjya

In the bellow picture is the Honden (Main hall, 本殿) of Ujikami Jinjya. The Honden is designated as a national treasure of Japan. This honden was built in Heian period (year 794 to 1185, 平安時代) around year 1060, and it is the oldest Shinto architecture in Japan. It is the oldest original building that still exists.
Honden at Ujikami Jinjya

Another national treasure you can see at Ujikami Jinjya is the Haiden (拝殿, Hall of worship).
Haiden at Ujikami Jinjya

After enjoying Ujikami Jinjya, we moved on to the next temple, Mimuroto-ji temple (三室戸寺).
From the history of the temple, it was built in year 770. This temple is located on the side of a mountain, so to reach it, you will have to walk a while.
From Ujikami Jinjya, it is about 18 minutes on foot to reach Mimuroto-ji.
After entering the front gate of Mimuroto-ji, there is still a bit of a hill that you’ll have to walk to reach the main halls.
Entrance of Mimuroto-ji

The main Buddha in this temple is very secretly kept and even the photo is not released to the public.

Walking up the stone stairs below, you’ll see the main buildings of the temple.

But the other famous attraction at the Mimuroto-ji is the garden, called Yorakuen (与楽園), which is 16,500 square meters big!! Because of the numerous flowers you can enjoy at this garden through out the four seasons, this temple is also called the “Temple of Flowers.”

From late April to early May, you would be able to see more than 20 thousand trees of Rhododendron (Tsutsuji, ツツジ) blooming in different colors, it is the largest scale in Kansai (West Japan) so the magnificent view have given Mimuroto-ji the name of “Temple of Rhododendron” as well.

In June, you can enjoy the Hydrangeas (Ajisai, アジサイ). There are more than 50 types and 10 thousand trees of them for you to enjoy all at once! Of course, the Mimuroto-ji also has the name of “Temple of the Hydrangeas.”

Between late June and early August, you can see 250 plants of Lotus flowers (Hasu, 蓮) blooming at the pond, there are more than 100 types of them! As you can imagine, the Mimuroto-ji also has the name of “Temple of the Lotus flower.”

And in November, there are the beautiful autumn leaves for the visitors of Mimuroto-ji to enjoy!🍁

Unfortunately during the time we visited, there weren’t anything in bloom…so we didn’t take time to go down to the famous garden, but we did enjoy looking around the Mimuroto-ji itself 😊

The main hall of Mimuroto-ji
Main hall of Mimuroto-ji

You can find a statue of a rabbit next to the main hall, because this temple is closely related to rabbits in its history 🐇
The rabbit is called Koma-Usagi (狛兎), which means it is a messenger of the god. The statue is 150cm height and 90cm wide; and the rabbit is holding a huge ball that width 60cm. In the huge ball there is a egg shaped stone inside, it is said that if you are able to stand it up, you’ll increase your luck.
Koma-usagi at Mimuroto-ji

There are another few statues that you should visit at Mimuroto-ji.
In front of the main hall, you can see another stone statue of a bull (宝勝牛). Inside of its wide open mouth, there is a stone ball which if you stroke it, you’ll have a stronger luck to WIN! 👍🏻
Stone statue of a bull at Mimuroto-ji

The last one to introduce is the Koma-hebi (狛蛇), which is a snake bodied statue with a old man’s head, and this statue is also called he Ugajin (宇賀神). If you stroke the statue, it is said to bring you good luck and luck for money.
Ugajin at Mimuroto-ji

Three-storied pagoda (Sanju-o-tou, 三重塔) at Mimuroto-ji
Three-stories pagoda at Mimuroto-ji

Three-storied pagoda with the bell tower
Three-storied pagoda with the bell tower at Mimuroto-ji

One last thing you can enjoy at Mimuroto-ji is the various types of products they sell. They have many cute designed O-mamori (お守り、amulet) that you can choose from, the statues introduced above, the balls that brings luck, are also made into O-mamori for you to bring home with you.

And the one that I’ll definitely recommend would be the flower O-mamori, especially the Hydrangeas, Ajisai O-mamori. It is a O-mamori that brings you good luck. Not only the benefit, the look is also very pretty, it can also be a great gift from Japan as well.
Mimuroto-ji's O-mamori

Visited 2016/04

Information for Ujikami Jinjya Shrine (宇治上神社)

〒611-0021 Kyōto-fu, Uji-shi, Uji Yamada 59 (〒611-0021 京都府宇治市宇治山田59)
  • JR Uji station (宇治駅), JR Nara Line, 20 minutes on foot
  • Keihan Uji station (京阪宇治駅), Keihan Uji Line, 10 minutes on foot
Opening hours
09:00 – 16:30, the opening time may change due to the season. Open all year.
Free to worship
Time needed
About 15 minutes
Ujikami Jinjya Shrine (HP of Kyoto, Japanese only)

Information for Mimuroto-Ji Temple (三室戸寺)

〒611-0013 Kyōto-fu, Uji-shi, Todō, Shigatani−21 (〒611-0013 京都府宇治市菟道滋賀谷21)
  • JR Uji station (宇治駅), JR Nara Line, 29 minutes on foot
  • Keihan Mimuroto station (京阪三室戸駅), Keihan Uji Line, 15 minutes on foot
* During Hydrangea season, there may be direct buses from JR Uji station and Keihan Uji station.
Opening hours
  • From April 1st – October 31st: 08:30 – 16:30
  • From November 1st – March 31st: 08:30 – 16:00
  • Last entry time is 30 minutes before closing time. Closed on December 29th, 30th, 31st.
Adult 500 JPY / Child 300 JPY
Time needed
About 25 minutes (Without the time visiting the garden
Mimuroto-Ji Temple (Japanese only)
Credits for images

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