Nishiki Tenmangu（錦天満宮；Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine）is a small shrine, built in 1003, in the middle of a busy shopping street in Kawaramachi, Kyoto. The main god being worshiped at this shrine is the god of studies, Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真). The god of studies is obviously famous for giving good luck for studies, mainly studies at school. That is why a lot of students in Japan come here before they have to take the entry tests for their high school or college applications. Sugawara no Michizane is not only known for its power in studies, but it also brings good luck for business as well. Due to the Shrine’s location, a lot of the shops located near the Shrine would pay to leave a lantern with their shops’ names on it for the god to protect them and give them good luck for businesses.
Also, Nishiki Tenmangu is located very close to Nishiki Market (錦市場 Nishiki Ichiba), so it is a perfect place to visit before or after you visit the market, since this shrine is at one end of the market.
What is rare about it? It is actually stuck in the buildings that are next to it! It was said that the land where the buildings are built on were sold out after the Shrine was built, so the longer side of the Torii ended up sticking into the buildings due to the lack of space. It is quite interesting to see.
The next thing is the statue of the cow. It is said that if you stroke its head then stroke your own head you would become smarter and get better grades! For anyone who is interested, I would recommend you trying it out. It never hurts to try.
The third is the Karakuri Mikuji (windup doll fortune slip). The windup doll would pick a fortune slip (おみくじ、Omikuji) for you. You just need to put 200 yen into the machine and choose the type of fortune you would like to know, the doll would pick one out for you. There are six types of fortunes you could pick from: Overall fortune, Japanese & English fortune, Japanese & English flower fortune, Love fortune, Children fortune, and Happiness fortune.
The last is the Nishiki no Mizu (錦の水、Water of Nishiki). The water is one of the famous water that you could find in Kyoto and this Shrine has water of Nishiki welling up. The water is drinkable and it is free for people to bring home so you might see people bringing water bottles to bring the water home. You could also try some in the shrine; it may bring good luck to you!
Like a lot of other temples and shrines, Nishiki Tenmangu also sells all kinds of O-mamori (お守り、amulet) and O-fuda (お札、a type of household amulet or talisman issued by the Shinto Shrine). These days a lot of shrines and temples started to make unique O-mamori or other products for people to buy. Nishiki Tenmangu also has a lot of cute or unique designed products you can choose from.
One of the popular one is the Nakayoshi O-mamori（なかよしおまもり）. Nakayoshi means close friends. It is an O-mamori that gives you good luck with friendships and relationships. You can get one for yourself and one more for your close friend
- Address: 〒604-8042 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Nakanochō
- Access: Gion Shijo Station（祇園四条駅）, 3 min on foot
- Opening hours: 08:00 – 20:30; open all year
- Fees: Free to worship
- Time needed: About 10 minutes
- Website: Nishiki Tenmangu (錦天満宮 Nishiki Tenmangu) (Japanese Only)
- All Images: TabiScarp