Located in northwest Kyoto, Hirano-jinja was established in the year 794 when the capital was transferred to Heian-kyo (the ancient name for Kyoto) from Nagaoka-kyo.

The shrine has long enjoyed a relationship with Japan’s Imperial Household and royal family.

The shrine is even more famous today for its lovely cherry trees.

Hirano-jinja has held a cherry blossom festival every year since 985. The first of these festivals was held during the reign of Emperor Kazan.

Today it is among the most popular spots in Kyoto for viewing the trees, singing, and drinking. 

The actual festival, as opposed to the informal crowds that gather, begins in the morning with a ceremony at the mausoleum of Emperor Kazan. Then, in the afternoon, a procession moves from the shrine through the neighboring area and then back. The festival is held on the second Sunday in April.