If you’re up for visiting the Nishiki Market to try delicious tamago (eggs) or buy back some rice, do also check out the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto. It’s a short walk from the market, and although it’s smaller than other shrines in the older parts of Kyoto, it’s an experience from a culture perspective. I particularly enjoyed reading the wishes of people written on little wooden cutouts.
From observation, the places of worship in Japan largely center around Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples. The difference is that Shintoism is based on worship to several gods (kami, also known as spirits of natural elements and one’s ancestors) and Buddhism is focused on Buddha. If you’re new to Japan, the main aesthetic difference between the two places is the reddish-orange torii gates for Shinto Shrines, while Buddhist temples typically come with incense burners and statues of Buddha. When praying at Shinto Shrines, people also tend to clap twice, while prayers are silent at Buddhist temples.
The temple comes with a little hot spring well of sorts, for believers to wash themselves before praying. Apparently, the water is from a hot spring and is tested to be clean enough to drink. I wouldn’t advise it given the colour of the well.
The Travelling Squid’s Take
We visited the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto at 10am in the morning, and I like that it wasn’t too crowded. Shintoism is a new branch of religion for me, and it was interesting to walk around the shrine. That said, if you’re pressed for time, I’d encourage you to visit other shrines and temples in the order parts of Kyoto as they are bigger and are consolidated in the same location. That way, you get to see as many shrines as possible.
The Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto
- Address: 537 Nakanocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8042, Kyoto Prefecture
- Tel: +81 75-231-5732
- Website: http://nishikitenmangu.or.jp/