Located on the southern banks of the Kamo river, Kamomioya-jinja both reflects and inspires Kyoto City. Even its common name is a product of the city. “Shimo-,” meaning lower, and “-gamo,” after the city’s central river, yields the familiar Shimogamo. The creator and guardian of the city, Kamotaketsunomi-no-mikoto, is enshrined in the main sanctuary of the shrine, along his daughter Tamayorihime-no-mikoto, a mythical figure with her own repute. Together these deities welcome and protect all who visit the shrine, from Kyoto and beyond.
Shimogamo-jinja Shrine nestles between the fork of the Kamogawa and Takanogawa rivers and is surrounded by a shady path through an old scenic forest. With the rivers on both sides, and with several small streams flowing through the grounds, Shimogamo is refreshingly cool in summer, and many people stroll there day and night to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and the rich atmosphere of mystical purity.
The grounds of Shimogamo contain beautiful vermillion-colored wooden buildings, curving bridges over the little streams, and several smaller shrines. Shimogamo-jinja Shrine is the sister shrine of Kamigamo-jinja, which lies a few kilometers north, and together the two shrines host an annual Aoi Matsuri, a parade of people in period costume that is one of Kyoto's three big annual festivals and a must-see if you are in the city on May 15th.