The Kamo Shrines, Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, are both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are two of the most important and oldest shrines in Kyoto.
In fact, the Kamo Shrines even predate the city’s establishment as national capital in 794. Throughout the thousand years that Kyoto served as Japan’s capital city, the Imperial Court patronized the shrines as establishments dedicated to the city’s protection and prosperity.
Shimogamo Shrine (Shimogamo Jinja, “Lower Kamo Shrine”) is located at the junction of the Takano and Kamo rivers. It is surrounded by the Tadasu no Mori, a forest which was preserved during the modernization of the city and contains trees that are up to 600 years old.
The Kamo Shrines jointly hold one of Kyoto’s three biggest festivals, the Aoi Matsuri. Every May 15th at 10:30am, a large procession dressed in the style of the Heian court leaves from the Imperial Palace, continues to Shimogamo, and ends the day at Kamigamo. Both shrines also host other smaller festivals throughout the year.