Exploring the Highlights of Seimei Shrine

Seimei Shrine, located in the Kamigyo Ward of Kyoto, is a place of worship dedicated to Abe no Seimei.

Abe no Seimei, the founder of the Abe clan’s Doomonji family that oversaw the Bureau of Onmyodo, is renowned as both a progenitor of the family and an astronomer. In modern times, the shrine dedicated to Abe no Seimei, also known as an onmyoji (yin-yang master), has gained popularity as a power spot believed to bring blessings against disasters and illnesses.

The shrine gained increased attention when figure skater Hanyu Yuzuru visited and later won a gold medal at the Olympics. In this article, we’ll explore various attractions within the shrine grounds, such as the auspicious peach tree and the well, providing insights into the enjoyable aspects of Seimei Shrine.

What is Seimei Shrine?

Seimei Shrine, located in the Kamigyo Ward of Kyoto, is dedicated to Abe no Seimei.

Abe no Seimei, known for his expertise in both astronomy and manipulating shikigami (spirit beings), developed these skills from a young age.

The shrine is believed to offer various blessings, including protection against illness, injuries, and warding off evil spirits.

In recent years, the shrine gained widespread attention due to the success of novels and movies featuring Abe no Seimei. It has become a popular destination, drawing visitors such as figure skaters who achieved Olympic gold.

Within the shrine grounds, you’ll find intriguing features like a well adorned with a pentagram, believed to be used by Seimei in his mystical practices, and auspicious peaches known for their protective qualities when touched. There’s no shortage of fascinating highlights to explore at Seimei Shrine.

Introducing the History of Seimei Shrine!

Seimei Shrine, established in 1007, was dedicated by Emperor Ichijo to honor the accomplishments of Abe no Seimei, who passed away in 1005.

Initially, the shrine occupied an expansive area, extending from Horikawa Street in the east to Kuromon Street in the west, with the northern boundary at Motoseiganji Street and the southern at Nakaderamichi Street.

Due to conflicts like the Onin War and the city’s expansion under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the shrine’s size dwindled. It experienced a period of decline, losing ancient texts, treasures, and falling into disrepair.

In the late Edo period, efforts led by local believers revitalized the shrine. In 1950, after many years of aspirations, the shrine expanded to face Horikawa Street.

Today, thanks to the dedication of those who revere Abe no Seimei, the reconstructed shrine attracts worshipers from across Japan.

Accessing Seimei Shrine

Here’s information on how to get to Seimei Shrine:

To reach Seimei Shrine in Kyoto, located along Horikawa Street in the Kamigyo Ward, consider using the bus system. You can catch a bus from major stations in Kyoto, including JR Kyoto Station. The shrine is just a short walk from each respective bus stop.

Access by Bus

  • Take City Bus No. 9 from JR Kyoto Station, get off at “Ichijo Modoribashi / Seimei Shrine Mae,” and it’s about a 2-minute walk.
  • Board City Bus No. 12 from Hankyu Karasuma Station or Subway Shijo Station. Get off at “Ichijo Modoribashi / Seimei Shrine Mae,” and it’s just a short 2-minute walk.
  • Take City Bus No. 12 or 59 from Keihan Sanjo Station. Get off at “Horikawa Imadegawa,” and it’s just a brief 2-minute walk.

Sightseeing at Seimei Shrine

  • Address: 806 Seimeicho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 602-0898, Japan
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Phone Number: 075-441-6460
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Seimei Shrine

Seimei Shrine is a charming shrine located along Horikawa Street, offering a moderate-sized space. Within its precincts, you’ll find various symbols related to Abe no Seimei, such as a statue of Seimei and a bronze statue of shikigami, reflecting the shrine’s connection to Seimei.

The shrine is not open for visits 24 hours; instead, the worship hours are from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

Aside from prayers for businesses and individuals, the shrine is known for conducting unique ceremonies, including health blessings for pets.
If you plan to make a prayer, it’s advisable to contact Seimei Shrine in advance by phone to confirm the details.

Highlights of Seimei Shrine

Seimei Shrine, dedicated to Abe no Seimei, a historical figure featured in novels and movies, continues to captivate people in the modern era.
Let’s explore the unique features of Seimei Shrine, which sets it apart with distinct blessings like warding off misfortune and dispelling evil.

Unique Shrine Symbol: “Ichi no Torii” and “The Old Ichijo-Modori Bridge”

Ichi no Torii

At the entrance of Seimei Shrine stands a grand torii gate known as “Ichi no Torii,” welcoming visitors to this enchanting place.
Unlike many shrines where the gate’s inscription typically displays the shrine’s name or the deity it honors, Seimei Shrine’s torii proudly features the emblem of “Seimei Kikyo.”
This shrine is unique nationwide for displaying its emblem, and the golden glow of the Seimei Kikyo, also known as the pentagram, serves as a symbol of Seimei Shrine.

The pentagram holds significance in the Onmyodo tradition created by Abe no Seimei, serving as a sacred symbol in prayers and charms.
As night falls, the lanterns along the approach to the shrine illuminate, creating a mystical atmosphere that adds to the allure of Seimei Shrine.

The Old Ichijo-Modori Bridge

Just beyond the towering “Ichi no Torii,” there lies a small bridge with historical significance known as the “Old Ichijo-Modori Bridge.” It is a recreation of the original Ichijo-Modori Bridge, which has a connection to Abe no Seimei.

The current Ichijo-Modori Bridge, rebuilt in 1995, spans the Horikawa River, located 100 meters south of Seimei Shrine. This spot is famous for the “Demon Woman Legend,” where Watanabe Tsuna, one of Minamoto no Yorimitsu’s Four Heavenly Kings, severed the arm of a demon woman.

The bridge is also renowned for its association with Abe no Seimei, who used magical practices to revive his father and placed shikigami (spiritual beings) under the bridge. It’s a place rich in mystical history.

Even today, due to the association with returning (modoru in Japanese), it’s customary for funeral processions and bridal processions to avoid crossing this bridge.

Seimei Shrine’s Old Ichijo-Modori Bridge preserves the essence of the previous bridge by relocating its original railing posts to the shrine grounds.

Visit the Seimei Shrine Dedicated to Abe no Seimei: Main Hall, Sub-shrines, and Sacred Trees

the second torii gate

As you pass through the first torii gate, you’ll encounter the second torii gate, adorned with the shrine’s name.
Once you pass through the second torii gate, you’ll find the main hall, its sub-shrines, and numerous power spots within the shrine grounds.
Compared to the bustling main street facing the first torii gate, the area around the second torii gate is quieter, allowing you to feel the sacred ambiance of the shrine.

Take a moment to notice the lanterns hanging beside the torii gates, featuring the emblem of Seimei Kikyo, adding a touch of mystical charm to your journey.

main hall

At the innermost sanctum of Seimei Shrine stands the Main Hall, dedicated to Abe no Seimei and the deity overseeing grains and sustenance.
The current Main Hall, reconstructed in 1905, is adorned with the emblem of Seimei Kikyo, symbolizing the essence of the shrine.
After passing through the second torii gate, you’ll find the Temizuya, a purification fountain. Take a moment to cleanse your hands and mouth before offering your prayers.

Seimei Shrine, honoring Abe no Seimei, renowned as an onmyoji (yin-yang master), is believed to bring blessings of warding off evil and dispelling misfortune.
Abe no Seimei, known for purifying people’s ailments during his lifetime, continues to bestow the same protective blessings as a revered deity.
Due to its reputation for dispelling misfortune, many visitors come to the shrine to pray for the removal of negative influences and seek protection.

Itsuki Inari Shrine

Near the main shrine, there is a small shrine called “Itsuki Inari Shrine”.
“Itsuki Inari Shrine, where three gods including Oinari-sama are enshrined, has a deep connection with Abe no Seimei.
It is said that Seimei is the reincarnation of Inari, and there are also legends that Seimei’s mother, Kuzunoha, is Inari’s messenger and a reincarnation of a fox.

The word “Itsuki” comes from the Itsuki-in, where a princess who served at the Ryo-kamo Shrine (Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine) in Kyoto once resided, and this place was associated with Inari in the past.
Don’t forget to visit this auxiliary shrine, which exudes a solemn atmosphere, alongside the main shrine.

In front of the auxiliary shrine, there’s a sacred tree surrounded by benches.
The sacred tree at Seimei Shrine is over 300 years old and was once used for making camphor, a natural insect repellent.
By gently placing your hands and offering a prayer, you can receive the blessings of the sacred tree, which has been watching over the shrine for many years.

Take a seat on the benches around the sacred tree, it’s a nice spot to pause and take a break during your stroll.

Exploring the Power Spots of Seimei Shrine in Kyoto.

Evil-Dispelling Peach

Right next to the main hall of Seimei Shrine, you’ll find a large peach statue known as the “Evil-Dispelling Peach.”
Traditionally, peaches have been considered a symbol of warding off misfortune in China and Yin-Yang philosophy.
Ancient texts like the “Kojiki” and “Nihon Shoki” depict scenes of demons being repelled by peaches.

The famous Japanese folk hero, Momotaro, known for defeating demons, is said to have originated from the idea of peaches having protective qualities.
By touching the peach, it’s believed that you can rid yourself of negative energy and misfortune. The golden gleam of this large peach also makes it a renowned power spot in the shrine, so don’t hesitate to give it a gentle stroke.

Seimei Well

One of the standout attractions within Seimei Shrine is the “Seimei Well,” located just after passing through the second torii gate.
Legend has it that Abe no Seimei, the deity and festival god of the shrine, used his psychic powers to make this wellspring.
Drinking the water from the well is believed to bring healing and recovery from illness, and to this day, visitors can still drink the fresh spring water.

Renowned tea master Sen no Rikyu is known to have used the water from this well in his tea ceremonies.
The direction from which the water springs aligns with the auspicious direction each year, making it a charming spot to obtain water with good fortune.
Inspired by a tale of seeking blessings for health, many people enjoy taking photos at this well.

While the author had limited time and drank the well water directly, it’s advisable to boil it before consumption.
If you choose to drink it as is, the water tends to be refreshingly cool in the pre-summer months and even more chilling during winter.

Abe no Seimei

Right next to the main hall, there’s a bronze statue depicting Abe no Seimei, who is not only the deity of the shrine but also the inspiration behind this sculpture.
Crafted based on a portrait of Abe no Seimei kept in Seimei Shrine, the statue showcases his expertise in various fields, including Yin-Yang philosophy and celestial observations.

Take a moment to appreciate the approximately 2,000 balloon flowers, also known as kikyo, which are the shrine’s emblem.
Abe no Seimei, known for his knowledge in Yin-Yang philosophy and celestial observations, is portrayed with hands forming a seal under his garment, capturing the essence of his expertise while gazing at the sky for astronomical observations.

Attractions of Seimei Shrine

Seimei Kikyo

One prominent feature of Seimei Shrine is the Seimei Kikyo, which is also the shrine’s emblem.
The Seimei Kikyo, shaped like a pentagram, is depicted on items such as votive tablets and charms.
Rows of votive tablets, adorned with the Seimei Kikyo for protection against evil, are displayed within the shrine grounds.

Additionally, at the shrine office on the premises, the chief priest offers divination services.
Divination sessions take place on a first-come, first-served basis between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, so if you’re interested, feel free to stop by.
The popular divination, often with a wait, adds to the allure of Seimei Shrine.

Commemorative Boards

Facing the main hall, on the left wall, you’ll find several plaques known as “Commemorative Boards” detailing anecdotes about Abe no Seimei.
Take a moment to read these carefully chosen ten anecdotes about Seimei, the festival deity.
These stories depict Seimei’s legendary feats, such as using sorcery to vanquish supernatural beings, offering a delightful experience akin to reading a novel.

the face-in-the-hole board

For those looking to capture fun moments through photography at Seimei Shrine, a must-try is the face-in-the-hole board featuring Shikigami and Seimei.
These boards, set up for memorable shrine visits, have gained popularity among students on school trips.
Alongside the Seimei Well, it’s a perfect spot for photo opportunities, capturing a memorable snapshot for your travel memories.

Sun and Moon Pillars

The large pair of pillars erected alongside the approach are known as the “Sun and Moon Pillars.”
Each pillar has the sun and moon placed at the top, symbolizing the yin and yang, a concept associated with Abe no Seimei.
Facing south, the sun, and facing north, the moon, these grand pillars, along with the first torii gate, welcome visitors.

Another highlight beyond the Sun and Moon Pillars is the “Shijinmon” or Four Gods Gate.
Named after its historical practice of opening when someone approaches and closing upon departure, the gate still operates automatically.
Take a moment to notice the pillars beside the gate, adorned with the Four Gods, protecting the four cardinal directions of Kyoto.


At Seimei Shrine, you can purchase unique charms featuring the distinctive design of the Seimei Kikyo.
One standout charm is the “Mizukagami Mamori,” the same charm that Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu carries.
This charm is believed to enhance concentration, making it especially beneficial during exam preparations, job interviews, and important sports competitions.

Recommended Sightseeing Spots around Seimei Shrine

Seimei Shrine is a sightseeing spot that takes about 30 minutes to explore.
Here, I’ll introduce some recommended attractions in the surrounding area, including shrines, temples, and other unique places that showcase Kyoto’s distinctive charm.
From power spots that catch the interest of sports enthusiasts, especially soccer fans, to locations that radiate the essence of Kyoto, let’s explore the diverse offerings around here.

Shiramine Shrine

This shrine is conveniently located just a short walk from the “Horikawa-Imadegawa” bus stop, accessible by taking JR Kyoto Station Bus No. 9 or City Bus No. 101.
Alongside honoring Emperors Sutoku and Junnin, the shrine also venerates Seidaimyojin, the deity of kemari, a traditional ball game in Japan.
Due to this association, it has become a renowned power spot and is affectionately considered the deity of soccer and ball sports.

After gaining media attention during the 1998 France World Cup, the shrine started attracting soccer players and enthusiasts.
A kemari monument was erected in 2001 within the shrine grounds, and in recent years, it has evolved into a beloved spot for deities related to various ball sports, not just soccer.
With a sub-shrine dedicated to martial arts deities, it has also become a popular destination for middle and high school students engaged in club activities.

At the innermost part of Shiramine Shrine, you’ll find the main hall adorned with autographed boards from famous athletes.
Right next to the main hall, there’s an intriguing collection of official balls from various sports like baseball, soccer, and basketball.
This spot is a delight for sports enthusiasts as you might come across precious memorabilia like signed items and messages from athletes.
They offer a range of sports-themed charms and merchandise, including magnetic talismans, headbands, and wristbands, perfect for fans of the sports deities.


  • Address: 261 Asukai-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: Just a short walk from City Bus No. 9, No. 101 “Horikawa-Imadegawa”; 5-minute walk from Seimei Shrine
  • Phone Number: 075-441-3810
  • Closed: Open daily
  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Shiramine Shrine

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Located a 5-minute walk from Imadegawa Station on the Karasuma Subway Line, Kyoto Imperial Palace has become a popular tourist spot since it became freely open to the public year-round in 2016.
Categorized as national property, Kyoto Imperial Palace is under the management of the Imperial Household Agency and serves as imperial property.
The current Kyoto Imperial Palace, situated in the northern part of the lush Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens, was constructed in 1855 during the late Edo period.

While it has long served as the residence of the Emperor, Kyoto Imperial Palace maintains a solemn atmosphere despite being a tourist attraction.
The “Shishinden” (Purple Palace), serving as the main hall within Kyoto Imperial Palace, is considered the most prestigious structure. Capture precious moments by taking photos of this building, where enthronement ceremonies for Emperors Meiji, Taisho, and Showa took place.

Exploring the naturally rich grounds, including the “Sakon no Sakura” and “Ukon no Tachibana” trees planted in front of the building, is a delightful experience.
In the “Oike-Niwa” pond garden, you can appreciate the vibrant autumn foliage and seasonal landscapes throughout the year.
For a comfortable stroll around the expansive grounds, it’s recommended to wear sneakers or other comfortable footwear.


  • Address: Inside Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 5-minute walk from Imadegawa Station on the Karasuma Subway Line
  • Phone Number: 075-211-1215
  • Closed: Irregular closures depending on weather conditions, etc.
  • Opening Hours:
    • September and March: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (last entry at 3:50 PM)
    • October to February: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (last entry at 3:20 PM)
    • April to August: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (last entry at 4:20 PM)
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

This tourist spot is located just a short walk from JR Kyoto Station, accessible by City Bus routes 50 and 101 (get off at “Kitano Tenmangu-mae”) or a 5-minute walk from Keifuku Electric Railroad “Shiraume-cho” station.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of scholarship, attracts students from all over Japan who come to pray for success in their exams.
Often referred to as “Tenjin-san” or “Kitano-san,” this shrine, alongside Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka, is considered a central hub for the Tenjin faith across the country.

Established over 1,000 years ago in 947, the shrine has been a sacred place filled with celestial energy.
It is not only renowned for academic success but is also a popular power spot believed to bring various blessings.

The main hall in the center of the precincts is the oldest extant example of Yatsumune-zukuri architecture, dating back to 1607.
Designated as a national treasure, the main hall is a rare and valuable piece of architecture.
On the 25th of each month, the area around the main hall is illuminated, offering a more vibrant and enchanting spectacle for visitors to enjoy.

At Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, there is a protective embankment called “Odoi,” which was constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to prevent water damage.
This Odoi, resembling a hill, features over 350 maple trees, a mix of natural forest and artificially planted, designed to prevent soil erosion.

During autumn, the Odoi and the areas around the Uguisu Bridge within the shrine premises burst into vivid red hues as the leaves change color.
This period marks the peak of autumn foliage, and there’s a special feature – a limited-time autumn foliage illumination, allowing visitors to appreciate the beautiful red leaves illuminated in the darkness.

The scenery created by the vermilion-painted bridge and the red and yellow foliage is so captivating that you might want to gaze at it for a while.
In the season of fresh greenery, the blue maple leaves become the highlight. The temple grounds filled with blue and red maple leaves create a refreshing atmosphere, even in the warmer months.


  • Address: Umagai-cho, Imadegawa-agaru, Gozen-dori, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • A short walk from JR Kyoto Station, take bus routes 50 or 101, get off at “Kitano Tenmangu Mae.”
    • Also, a 5-minute walk from the Keifuku Electric Railroad “Shiraume-cho” station.
  • Phone: 075-461-0005
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Hours: [April to September] 5:00 AM – 6:00 PM, [October to March] 5:30 AM – 5:30 PM
    • (During Momiji Light-up period, open until 8:00 PM)
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Kitano Tenmangu

Located in the heart of Kyoto’s city center, Seimei Shrine is a popular tourist spot.
Its convenient location, facing a major street, makes it easily accessible.
Explore the power spots within the shrine dedicated to the deity Seimei.


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