Japanese ema plaques displayed at Kawai-jinja in Kyoto. Can you spot ours?
The Kyoto shrine that’s attractive in more ways than one
While in Kyoto, we visited Kawai-jinja, a shrine famous for having its own unique ema (絵馬) – small wooden plaques on which one writes a prayer or wish – in the shape of hand mirrors. The idea is that you personalize these plaques with colored pencils or crayons to make a face, focusing on the areas in particular that you’d like to improve. It’s said that doing so will make you more attractive 🙂
I got a little carried away with color, and so I hope my wish literally doesn’t come true, lest I be blessed with green and blue hair. But hopefully my little colourful ema will simply be interpreted as wanting to remain youthful and creative.
Kawai-jinja is located within the grounds of a larger shrine, Shimogamo-jinja. To get to both you have to walk down a quiet, suburban lane framed by a large torii gate.
Despite it being late December, the fall colours still shone through.
The impressive Shimogamo-jinja
A monk praying inside the shrine
A large ema depicting 2019: the year of the boar
Monks’ shoes lined up neatly outside the temple
Kawai-jinja has a nice old vibe, with years of moss-growth covering some of the roofs
A group of women decorating their ema…
And autumnal leaves decorating the building outside
Tadasu-no-mori Forest that leads between the two shrines
Super interesting as always! What other hidden gems would you recommend in Kyoto? I will be visiting it for the third time in March and I am on the search for hidden gems 🙂
I’m not overly familiar with Kyoto as I live in Tokyo. But things we really enjoyed (that you may not know) were:
– sunrise at Yasaka Pagoda, getting there while still in the dark and being the only ones there
– Temari sushi at Gion Mametora
– Insanely good matcha kakigori at Pass The Baton
– Clothes shopping at three star! Really cheap but good thrift store.