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©AFLO, Hideaki Tanaka
Otoyo Shrine is the one and only Shinto shrine guarded by a pair of Komanezumi mice, in place of Komainu lion dogs that guard the rest of some 80,000 shrines all across Japan. They were created based on an anecdote written in the Kojiki, or the Records of Ancient Matters, the oldest history book of Japan. The story goes that Okuninushi, one of the major gods in Japanese Shinto, was saved by a mouse by guiding him to a cave when he was trapped in a sea of fire. The shrine gained public attention through the Internet due to this unique feature. The shrine attracts many visitors gathering for Hatsumode (the first visit to shrines and temples during the New Year holidays).
1 Miyanomae-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The shrine offers the landscape decorated by plants of each season throughout the year, but the blossoms from weeping red plum, camellia, and cherry trees in full bloom from March are particularly stunning. The shrine is also a well-kept secret spot for cherry blossom viewing.
Take Kyoto City Bus No. 100 bound for Ginkaku-ji from the “Kyoto Station” on the JR lines to “Miyanomae-cho” stop (approximately 30 minutes), and a 5-minute walk from the stop.
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