Seimei Shrine (Yakuyoke-to,location,history)

Seimei Shrine, Yakuyoke-to

The information about Seimei Shrine is presented here. At the Seimei Shrine, Yakuyoke-to (peach to ward off evil spirits), which is popular with tourists, is located in front of Honden. It is said that stroking Yakuyoke-to will transfer evil spirits to the peach and bring good luck in warding off evil spirits. The use of peaches to ward off evil spirits and bad luck is recorded in Japan’s oldest history book, “Kojiki”, and in Japan’s oldest official history book, “Nihonshoki”, and is said to be the origin of the fairy tale “Momotaro”.

【Seimei Shrine Location Map & Directions】

Address: 806-1 Seimei-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Ichijo Modoribashi Seimeijinja-mae bus stop (about 2 minutes on foot), Imadegawa Station (about 15 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Free

【Seimei Shrine History】

On October 31, 1005 (September 26, lunar calendar), Onmyo-ji Abe no Seimei died at the age of 85. Abe no Seimei served six emperors as their close advisor: the 61st Emperor Suzaku, the 62nd Emperor Murakami, the 63rd Emperor Reizei, the 64th Emperor Enyu, the 65th Emperor Kazan, and the 66th Emperor Ichijo. Seimei Shrine was originally built in 1007 by order of Emperor Ichijo, to honor the legacy of Abe no Seimei, and the shrine was built on the site of his residence. At the time of its construction, Seimei Shrine faced Motoshiganji-dori on the north, Nakadachiuri-dori on the south, Horikawa-dori on the east, and Kuromon-dori on the west, and had a vast shrine area measuring 2 cho north and south and 1 cho east and west. It is said that the Onin War (1467-1477) occurred in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573) and the shrine buildings of Seimei Shrine were destroyed by military fire. During the Azuchi Momoyama period (1573-1603), the shrine grounds of Seimei Shrine were reduced in size by the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the shrine buildings are said to have fallen into disrepair. During the Azuchi Momoyama period, tea master Sen no Rikyu built his Juraku-yashiki (residence) next to Seimei Shrine. The Juraku-yashiki (residence) was built when Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Juraku-dai in 1586, and Sen no Rikyu built his residence around it. The Juraku-yashiki (residence) has a shoin, and it is said that Toyotomi Hideyoshi leaned against the pillar (taikobashira) of the jodan-no-ma and looked at the remnants of the moon from the overhanging window in the chudan-no-ma. It is also said that Seimei Shrine was rebuilt after 1853. It is said that Seimei Shrine was destroyed by the Shinto-Buddhism separation order and the Haibutsukishaku after the Meiji Restoration. Honden was rebuilt in 1905, and the Seimei Shrine grounds were expanded to Horikawa-dori in 1950. In 2003, the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of Seimei Shrine was celebrated.

Abe no Seimei is said to have been born in 921 in Abeno, Settsu Province (Abeno-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture) or Yamato Abe (Abe, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) as the son of Abe no Masuki or Abe no Haruki. Abe no Seimei is also said to be a descendant of Abe no Miushi, and of Abe no Nakamaro. It is said that Abe no Seimei learned the Onmyo-do from Kamo no Tadayuki and Kamo no Yasunori, the masters of Onmyo-ji, and was taught the Tenmon-do. In 948, Abe no Seimei became the Otoneri, and in 960, he became the Tenmon Tokugosho and he was ordered to tell fortunes by the 62nd Emperor Murakami, and around 970, he became the Tenmon Hakase. After the death of Kamo no Yasunori in 977, Abe no Seimei emerged as a prominent figure, and in 979, by order of Crown Prince Morosada Shinno (the 65th Emperor Kazan), he performed a ceremony to seal the tengu of Mt. Nachi-san in Wakayama Prefecture. In 993, Abe no Seimei performed purification rites for the 66th Emperor Ichijo, who was ill, and after his recovery, he was promoted to the rank of Shogoijo. In 1004, after a long drought, Emperor Ichijo ordered the Goryu-sai to pray for rain, and rain fell, giving him a headdress. His sons, Abe no Yoshimasa and Abe no Yoshihira, also became the Tenmon Hakase and the Onyo-no-suke, and the Abe clan established itself as the Onmyo-do family along with the Kamo clan. Abe no Seimei died in 1005.
*reference・・・Seimei Shrine website

【Seimei Shrine Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Honden (main shrine. 本殿) was rebuilt in 1905. Honden enshrines the main deities Abe no Seimei and Uganomitama-no-mikoto. Honden is said to offer blessings such as protection from evil, protection from misfortune, protection from fire, healing from illness (protection from disease), marriage, and prayers for success in school.
★Ichi-no-torii (Ichi-no-torii gate. 一の鳥居) faces Horikawa-dori. On the Ichi-no-torii hangs not the name of the shrine, but the golden gakutsuka (plaque) of Seimei Kikyo. The Seimei Kikyo, also known as the Gobosei (five-pointed star), is used as a prayer charm in Onmyo-do. The Seimei Kikyo (Gobosei) is one of the seven wonders of Horikawa-dori.
★Seimei-no-i (Seimei Well, 晴明井) is located on the right side of the shrine after passing through Ni-no-torii. Seimei-no-i is said to spring from the well by the spiritual power of Abe no Seimei, and is said to bring blessings of good health and happiness. Seimei-no-i ran dry for a while, but now it is drinkable. Seimei-no-i is one of the seven wonders of Horikawa-dori.
晴明神社見どころ (Seimei Shrine Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Setsubun Hoshi Matsuri (節分星祭) is held every year on Setsubun. At Setsubun Hoshi Matsuri, in the Onmyo-do, we exorcise the impurities acquired throughout the year on Setsubun when “In” changes to “Yo”. In Tsuina, the priest shoots arrows in all directions while saying “In-Yo” to drive away evil demons.
★Seimai-sai (晴明祭) is held every year on the day of the autumnal equinox. Yoimiya-sai is held on the eve of the autumnal equinox. At Shinko-sai, mikoshi (portable shrine), shonen-kotekitai (boys’ drum), and kiku-hoko, ogi-hoko, shishi (lion), yaotome, momozono mikoshi, juraku mikoshi, etc. parade through the shrine parishioners’ district of Nishijin.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see bellflowers (桔梗) is from mid-June to late September. About 2,000 bellflowers are planted in the Kikyo-en (Bellflower Garden) on the left side of Honden, blooming with pretty purple and white blossoms. The company seal, Seimei Kikyo (Gobosei), is based on the bellflower.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-441-6460

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Seimei Shrine is via Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and Hirano Shrine to Kinkaku-ji Temple. Kinkaku-ji Temple is home to the Golden Pavilion, which is popular with both domestic and foreign tourists. There is also the Hanamachi district of Kamishichiken on the east side of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, where you might be lucky enough to meet a maiko.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Seimei Shrine, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山