Okazaki Shrine: Kyoto’s Bunny Shrine

Okazaki is a district of Kyoto that is home to many famous shrines and temples such as Heian Jingu and Nanzen-ji. It is also home to a particularly old shrine, Okazaki Shrine [岡崎神社], one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. Historically associated with fertility and childbirth this shrine gets many visitors today, though not all are hoping for children, instead they are enchanted because it’s filled with statues of bunnies!

 

Getting to Okazaki Shrine

The closets station is Jingu Marutamachi station off of Keihan Main Line, but only the local train stops there.Since there are many famous shrines and temples near Okazaki Shrine, there are many ways to get to the shrine. The easiest way is to walk there from any of the other famous destinations in the area.

From Heian Jingu;

walk east along Marutamachi Street.

From Nanzen-ji;

walk north along Shirakawa Street and turn left at the Marutamachi Street.

It only take 10 minutes on foot from either place.

 

Shrine Grounds

Okazaki Shrine is located on busy Okazaki district, but it is usually not very crowded. As Kyoto is extremely popular with tourists these days, it is rare to find shrines in the center of Kyoto where you can take your time and genuinely enjoy the shrine.

entrance of Okazaki Shrine in Kyoto

Entrance of Okazaki Shrine

shrine grounds of Okazaki Shrine

Once you get in, it wont take you long to find all the bunny statues!!

bunny omamori

lantern with the rabbit shaped crest of Okazaki Shrine

Even the shrine’s crest is a bunny.

 

So, Why the Bunnies?

You are probably wonder why there are so many bunnies in this shrine. Actually, the shrine’s full name, Higashi Tenno Okazaki, is derived from the fact that the shrine sits in the east of Kyoto Imperial Palace, and east is the direction of the rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac. Also coincidentally, at one time a lot of rabbits lived on the shrine grounds.

Rabbits seem to be a universal symbol of fertility, and the same is true here. Many people visit Okazaki Shrine to pray to have a child. In fact, Emperor Takakura’s wife prayed at Okazaki Shrine for the safe birth of their son.

Honden: enshrines Susano-o and his wife, Kushinada, and their 8 other children.

For those hoping to conceive children, they splash water on the stomach of this black rabbit right near the honden.

 

Okazaki Shrine

Address51 Okazaki Higashi Tenno-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture 〒 606-8332
Websitehttp://okazakijinja.jp/
Hours of OperationMon-Sun: 9:00-17:00
Admission FeeFree

Coming next time,
Kyoto’s massive Tofuku-ji Temple

The adventure continues…

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