Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine

After a rather wet afternoon exploring Southern Higashiyama I headed towards the city centre to find the guest house I would be staying in that night. To be perfectly honest I don’t usually like hostels but this particular place got excellent reviews and considering how expensive hotels are in Japan it seemed like a good option.

Sanjo Covered Market

Situated a short walk from Nijo Station and Sanjokai Market (above), Kyoto Guesthouse Roujiya was opened in early 2010 and is tucked away down a quiet side street in a local neighbourhood. The renovated house perfectly blends tradition with modern conveniences and was spotlessly clean (I forgot to take photos but you can see some here). The hosts/owners were extremely accommodating and I thoroughly enjoyed staying here – it should really be classed as a “boutique hostel”.

After checking in I went out to find some dinner in the downtown area which was very busy considering it was a Sunday evening. While wandering through the streets I noticed some brightly lit paper lanterns hanging between two buildings and discovered a wonderful small shrine.

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine (錦天満宮) is apparently dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of scholarship and good business, where students go to pray for good results.


As with most shrines, you’ll find a station for purifying yourself with water which comes from a natural well 300 meters deep.

Purification Instructions

There was a cute instruction guide as to how you should do it – first wash your mouth, then clean your hands.

Water Purification

There is a great sense of safety in Japan – in China or the UK someone would have undoubtedly run off with these if they had been left unsecured like this. Here people really show a lot of respect for the local environment and keep everything in nice condition.

Red Spots

Although simple, the glowing lanterns were exceptionally beautiful in my eyes and I took lots of photos. On many of them, I noticed this symbol of six red circles – I wonder what it means?

If you’re looking for the shrine it can be found on Nishiki-dori street, close to Teramachi-dori street and ShinKyougoku-dori street. There are many small shops and restaurants nearby in the covered market and a great place to visit if it’s wet outside.

David avatar

One response

  1. The cute sign explaining how to purify should be read from right to left as when Japanese was written vertically.

    Also I think it makes more sense to wash your hand before using your hand to rinse your mouth.

    Just F.Y.I.


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