Monkey Shrine: Hiyoshi Taisha, Otsu

Date: 30 March 2016

Moving on from Ishiyama-dera, I headed to Hiyoshi Taisha. I had lunch at this restaurant near Hiyoshi Taisha, and the bus stop going towards Hieizan. The restaurant was spacious with seating areas both on the ground floor and another one level up.


You can enjoy the view of the Japanese garden through the glass door as well.


I had unagi (eel) kabayaki, which was extremely filling. The shop also sells pickled vegetables, which I had bought a packet home.

The pickled vegetable I bought was the green one on the left

Hiyoshi Taisha is a Shinto shrine, and one of the Twenty Two Shrines, a ranking system of shrines which was formed during the Heian Period. It is also the head shrine of over 3,800 Sanno shrines in Japan. The existence of the shrine is recorded in Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters), Japan’s oldest historical record.

Located at the northeast of Heian-kyo, which is believed to be in the unlucky direction based on traditional Japanese cosmology, the shrine is often worshiped for warding off evil. The shrine grounds are fairly large and you would need to spend quite a bit of time here to appreciate this visit.

The shrine is a designated important cultural property
Omiya bridge before the approach to the shrine
The approach to the shrine and Sanno Torii from afar



Roumon before the Higashi Hongu (East Shrine)

You will see a number of monkey related items in this shrine – amulets, or such of that in the below image, as Hiyoshi Taisha consider monkeys to be messengers of God. My favorite animal – the messenger of God? Well, I love the fact that I got to bring back monkey-related souvenirs.

Monkey Deity
Higashi Hongu Haiden
Higashi Hongu Honden (Main Hall)


Shirayama-gu Shrine Honden


Roumon before the Nishi Hongu (West Shrine)
Nishi Hongu Honden (on the left) and Haiden (on the right)


This shrine is definitely worth the visit if you are in Otsu. You can easily stop here if you are going to Enryakuji / Mt Hiei.


Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:30

Admission fee: 300 yen

Official Website


The nearest train stations are the Keihan Sakamoto-Hieizanguchi Station (10 mins walk to Hiyoshi Taisha) or the JR Hiezan-Sakamoto train station (18 mins walk to Hiyoshi Taisha).

  • From Kyoto Station: JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line / JR Kosei Line (20 mins, 320 yen)
  • From Tsuruga Station (Fukui): JR Hokuriku Line / JR Kosei Line (1 hr 20 mins, 1,320 yen)
  • From Ishiyamadera Station: Keihan Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line (35 mins, 320 yen)

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