Legend says that the goddess Tamayori-hime appeared in Osaka Bay aboard a yellow boat, declaring that a shrine should be built and local spirits deified wherever the boat's journey ended. Founded more than 1000 years ago, that place became Kifune Shrine, two local water gods became the enshrined gods, and from that point on Kyoto's people looked to Kifune Shrine particularly for matters pertaining to rainfall and harvest. In times of drought locals would offer a black horse to the gods praying for rain, and when praying for the rain to cease would offer a white horse. Even today Kifune Shrine remains connected to matters dealing with water, and votive prayer tablets illustrated with horses are still offered with prayers.
Kifune Shrine's annual Kifune Festival, held at the changing of the seasons, is a lively one with multiple happenings throughout the day from morning until evening. From the morning rituals are held at the main hall, and in the inner sanctuary prayers and reports are announced to the gods. The gods' "wardrobe" is also changed to something more befitting of the season. From then, the festivities move in to the public eye with a court dance offering before the people take to the streets with the portable shrine and head around the neighborhood and then on the inner shrine to put on a show of Izumo Kagura!
This sacred dance tells the story of when the god Susano’o came upon an elderly couple prepared to sacrifice their daughter. All of their other daughters had already been devoured by a giant snake with multiple heads, but Susano’o created a plan to slay the beast. Instructing the elders to lay out rice wine, he gets the serpents drunk before attacking and managing to kill them, ridding the land of the threat and marrying the old couple’s daughter. This show is a local favorite and involves some pyrotechnics with the costuming.
Things to See/Do
11:00: Shinto Ritual & Bugaku Offering
13:00: Omikoshi Portable Shrine Departs
15:00: Rituals at the Inner Shrine & Izumo Kagura
Notice: the 2020 event (except the shrine rituals) has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- General Admission: Free
- Office Hours: 9:00 – 16:30 (subject to seasonal change)
- Closed: No closing days
- By Eizan Train Line ⇒ Ride towards Kurama ⇒ Kibuneguchi Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 33 ⇒ Kibune Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking
- By Keihan Train Line ⇒ Demachiyanagi Station ⇒ Eizan Train Line towards Kurama ⇒ Kibuneguchi Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 33 ⇒ Kibune Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking
- By Karasuma Subway Line ⇒ Kokusaikaikan Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 52 ⇒ Kibuneguchi Bus Stop ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 33 from Kibuneguchi Train Station ⇒ Kibune Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking