Kyoto Ebisu Featured Image

Kyoto Ebisu Shrine

Phone: 075-525-0005
Address: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamatooji Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Business Hours: 08:30 - 17:00
Closed On: Open Daily
Parking: Not available
Wheelchair Accessible ?: Yes
(Large Map)

One of the three major “Ebisu” shrines in Japan

Kyoto Ebisu Shrine Image
Main shrine

“Ebisu” is God of wealth + bumper crop, and one of the seven Gods of good fortune. Other six Gods were originated from either India or China, but Ebisu is from Japan. There are three major shrines where Ebisu is enshrined – Kyoto Ebisu Shrine, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka and Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyogo.

Kyoto Ebisu Shrine was built in 1202, when Kennin-ji Temple was founded across the street. Although it was built as the guardian deity of Kennin-ji Temple, it became popular by itself among the people in town as the local deity making their wishes come true – wishes include not just success in commerce, but prosperous fortunes of family, travel safety, etc.

Big event is held in early Janaury every year

Toka Ebisu Image
“Toka-Ebisu” Festival in January.

At Kyoto Ebisu Shrine (and other Ebisu Shrines), there is a big event to celebrate new year honoring God Ebisu between the 8th and 12th of January each year. We call it “Toka-Ebisu” Festival which means “10th Day Festival of Ebisu”. As the name of it indicates, 10th of January is the biggest day of the festival. Two days before and after the 10th of January have specific meanings and the opening hours are different.

  • 8th: Shofuku-sai (Day to invite Fortune) – 09:00 – 23:00
  • 9th: Yoi-Ebisu-sai (Toka-Ebisu Eve) – 09:00 – all night
  • 10th: Toka-Ebisu, the main event – throughout the day
  • 11th: Nokori-Fuku-sai (Day to celebration Remaining Fortune) – until 24:00
  • 12th: Teppuku-sai (Farewell Festival) – 09:00 – 22:00
God Ebisu in the back
God Ebisu enshrined in the back of the main shrine.

During the festival, lots of people come to see God Ebisu and pray for something in mind (mainly having to do with $$$ and happiness in their families). In middle of the festival, a huge whole Maguro (= Tuna) is placed in front of the main shrine as an offering to God Ebisu. I guess the Tuna is consumed later by the people who contributed to the festival. People visiting the shrine during the festival buy lucky charms decorated with Bamboo leaves. Bamboo leaf is symbolic in Ebisu worship – Bamboo is flexible yet robust, and it grows well with leaves not falling from branches, so Bamboo became the symbol of prosperity.

Back of the main shrine
Knocking wall in the back. Don’t forget to say “Please make my wish come true”.

FYI, God Ebisu is said to be hard of hearing. So, even though you pray something in front of the main shrine, he may not notice it. So, go to the left side of the main shrine and knock on the wall to let him know you came to see him.

Another God Ebisu in Yasaka Shrine – A subsidiary

There is another God Ebisu in Kyoto – in Yasaka Shrine. I think people consider God Ebisu there is a subsidiary of Kyoto Ebisu Shrine. It is just about a mile away from Kyoto Ebisu Shrine. I usually visit both to maximize my good fortune.

Lucky Rake
Rake on top of inner Torii gate. Throw your coins at the rake.

BTW, there is a wire-netted rake on top of inner Torii gate. Throw one of the coins in your pocket at the rake. If the coin lands in the rake, you will be in good luck.

If you visit Kyoto Ebisu Shrine, I suggest that you also visit Kennin-ji Temple. Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is relatively small and it does not take much time to see around. On the other hand, Kennin-ji Temple is HUGE and there are lots to see.

Getting There:
From: JR Kyoto Station
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #17 (leaving from A2 bus terminal in the north gate) bound for Ginkakuji Temple and get off at Kawaramachi Matsubara bus stop. About 6 min. walk from the bus stop. From the bus stop, walk back to the south a bit. Turn to the left onto Matsubara Street (right before Sunroute Hotel) and follow the road (you will cross two rivers). Turn to the left onto Yamato Oji Street and you will find the shrine on your left.
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #205 (leaving from A2 bus terminal in the north gate) bound for Kitaoji Bus Terminal Via Shijo Kawaramachi and get off at Kawaramachi Matsubara bus stop. About 6 min. walk from the bus stop. From the bus stop, walk back to the south a bit. Turn to the left onto Matsubara Street (right before Sunroute Hotel) and follow the road (you will cross two rivers). Turn to the left onto Yamato Oji Street and you will find the shrine on your left.
[Taxi] About 12 min. from JR Kyoto Station. You can take a taxi cab either from north gate or from south gate. Taxi fare is around Yen 1,200.
From: Keihan Gion Shijo Station
[Walk] About 8 min. Walk to the east on Shijo Street and turn to the right onto Yamato Oji Street. Keep going and you will find the shrine on your right.
From: Hankyu Kawaramachi Station
[Walk] About 15 min. Walk to the east on Shijo Street and turn to the right onto Yamato Oji street. Keep going and you will find the shrine on your right.
[Taxi] About 10 min. Fare is around Yen 1,000.

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