Established in 794, 平野神社Hirano Shrine is a Shinto shrine in the northern part of Kyoto. The deities found here are 今木皇大神Imakisume-ookami (vitality), 久度Kudo-no-kami (“stove”, life, peace), 古開大神Furuaki-no-ookami (peace from malice) and 比賣大神Hime-no-ookami (fertility). Members of the Imperial family have visited the shrine since its earliest years, the shrine becoming the object of Imperial patronage in the 平安時代Heian Period. From 1871-1946, it was designated a 官幣大社kanpei-taisha, first rank of government-supported shrines. A cherry blossom festival is held annually since 985, the oldest festival in Kyoto to be held regularly, when 花山天皇Emperor Kazan ordered cherry blossom trees to be planted in the garden; there are currently about 400 trees of about 60 kinds of cherry blossoms.
I’ve heard throughout the years that Hirano Shrine is known for its many kinds of cherry blossoms and that each type blooms at its own speed, making cherry blossoms available for about two months here, but it wasn’t until late March of this year that I finally made it to check out cherry blossoms after visiting 松田珈琲Matsuda Coffee for the first time. Since it was a bit early in the season, there weren’t as many people making it easier for me to get around and admire the existing blooms while taking pictures.
outside the gate of the shrine off 西大路通Nishioji Street
the cherry blossoms right inside the entrance
making my way to the 本殿honden (main hall)…there were cherry blossom trees everywhere.
entering the 参道sandoh (path) to the honden from the side
the view up to the 中門chuumon (inner gate) after entering by the 大鳥居ohtorii (big gate)
櫻池Sakura-ike (Cherry Blossom Pond)
魁sakigake, one of the 10 rare types cherry blossoms at the shrine, blooming before the entrance to the
拝殿haiden (worship hall) with the honden behind it
すえひろがねSuehiro-gane Stone, the largest magnetic rock in Japan that is said to bestow power on those who touch it, in front of the 大楠ohkusu(noki) (big camphor tree) around which one circles to the right to ward off evil and gain energy
絵馬emas (wooden plates on which prayers or wishes are written) hanging around the camphor tree
十月桜juugatsu-zakura (October) to the side of the honden
the entrance to the 桜苑sakura-en (cherry blossom garden)…although the whole place wasn’t in full bloom yet, there were still cherry blossoms worth viewing.
yukiyama cherry blossoms inside the garden
桜茶屋Sakura-chaya (“Cherry Blossom Teahouse”) with night stalls and seats where visitors can eat and drink while viewing cherry blossoms (from March 25-April 20)
There were more types of cherry blossoms in one place than I usually see, so I focused on one type at a time to revel in the beauty which can be somewhat lost in the overall picture. I regret that I didn’t go back later to see more as they bloomed but I felt pretty accomplished in actually having done some 花見hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) this year.☺