City Bus (5O) or (101) from JR Kyoto Station; (203)Demachiyanagi Station to Kitano Tenmangu-mae
To the right and left of the main shrine (Haiden) are growing pine and plurn trees with a historical connection with the deity of the shrine.
Also called Sankomon (Gate of the Three Iurni-naries) because of the sculptured suns, moons,and stars it bears.
This shrine enshrines Michizane Sugawara , who because of his great learning during his lifetime is worshipped as the patron of learning. Michizane was first especially favored by Emperor Uda, who bestowed great trust in governmental affairs upon him. But later he was exiled to Kyushu because of slander and died in exile in 903. After his death, severe earth- quakes and thunderstorms did constant damage in the home provinces, and it was thought commonly that these were the result of his wrath. The Imperial Court granted him the post- humous title of Karai TenJin, or God of Fire and Thunder ; because of the increasingly large number of his slanderers and their families who met with unexpected disaster, his power was more and more feared by the Court and the common people.
The process of divinization of Michizane was greatly assisted by sympathy with his misfortune of having died in exile, by admiration for his unchanging spirit of loyal service, by the mute judgment of the masses against their rulers, and by the social unrest caused by the ever-continuing disasters. Because of the prophe-cies spoken in 942 by Tajihi-no-Ayako, who lived in Nishi-no-kyo Shichijo, and in 947 by Taro-maru, a child of Hirano Yoshitane of Omi, a shrine was built in the present location and was known as Tenman Tenjin. In 959, the Udaijin (Minister of the Right) Fujiwara-no-Morosuke enlarged the buildings. On the fifth day of the eighth month of 987, the Kitano-matsuri was celebrated for the first time ; this festival continues to the present day. In 1004, Emperor lchijo paid the shrine its first Imperial visit, and later the shrine was included, with the other great shrines such as Kamo and lwa-shimizu, in the numberof the great 22 shrines. The shrine was often the object of Imperial visits, and the regents, shoguns, and common people of all ages since have paid it extraordinary reverence.
Its annual festival is August 4, and there are also very many special rites connected with literary pursuits and agriculture. SHRINE A part of the present Honden, or Main Shrine, was built in 1607 by Toyotomi Hideyori. Both the Honden and Haiden have the irimoya-zukri style of roof, and there is a stone room between the two buildings. To the West and East of the Haiden are Gaku-no-ma, or Music Chambers’ ; the roofs of these bulldlngs are all united Into one roof this style of architecture is called yatsu-rnune-zukuri or gongen-zukuri. The buildings are designated as important cultural properties, and are representative examples of Momoyama architecture. The many plum trees in the shrine precincts are due to the fact that Michizane was fond of plum trees in his lifetime.
City Bus (5O) or (101) from JR Kyoto Station; (201)Demachiyanagi Station to Kitano Tenmangu-mae.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is familiarly known as “Tenjin-san of Kitano” and is the comprehensive head shrine of Japan’s Tenmangu shrines in which Sugawara Michizane, patron deity of learning, is enshrined. The Treasure House was built in 1927 as a project commemorating Mantosai, employing the highest level of technology avail-able at the time in a mixed Western and Japanese style. Many objects in the collection are on display, including such pieces as the “Kitano Tenjin Engi” scroll painting (a National Treasure), the record of the Great Kitano Tea Gathering, and the Shofu ink stone said to be a favorite of Sugawara’s.