Ujigami Shrine (Honden,location,history)

Ujigami Shrine, Honden

The information about Ujigami Shrine is presented here. Ujigami Shrine was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Honden (Main Shrine, National Treasure) of Ujigami Shrine was built in the late Heian period (1086-1184) and is said to be the oldest shrine building in Japan. In 2004, a tree-ring dating survey conducted by the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and Uji City revealed that Honden was constructed from wood dating back to 1060.

【Ujigami Shrine Location Map & Directions】

Address: 59 Uji Yamada, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Keihan Uji Station (about 10 minutes on foot), JR Uji Station (about 20 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-16:30
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Free

【Ujigami Shrine History】

According to the “Yamashiro-koku Fudoki”, the site where Ujigami Shrine (宇治上神社) was built was the site of the Kirihara no Higeta-no-miya, a detached palace of Uji no Wakiiratsuko-no-mikoto (菟道稚郎子皇子), a son of the 15th Emperor Ojin and brother of the 16th Emperor Nintoku, during the Kofun period (mid 3rd century-7th century). The name “Uji” is said to have been used in ancient times. The name “Uji (宇治)” is said to have been derived from the ancient name “菟道” which referred to Uji no Wakiiratsuko-no-mikoto. Ujigami Shrine is said to have originated in 313, when Uji no Wakiiratsuko-no-mikoto committed suicide in order to transfer the imperial throne to his older brother, Osazak-no-mikoto, and Osazak-no-mikoto ascended the throne as the 16th Emperor Nintoku, and the shrine was built to worship the spirit of Uji no Wakiiratsuko-no-mikoto. Ujigami Shrine is said to have originated when the shrine was built by the Yamashiro Kokushi (Yamashiro governor) in the Heian period (794-1185) by the order of the 60th Emperor Daigo. It is said that Ujigami Shrine was already founded there in the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), as it is written in the “Engishiki Jinmeicho (founded in 927)”as “Uji Shrine two god”. Uji Shrine, which is located near Ujigami Shrine, is also the site of the Kirihara no Higeta-no-miya, and the two shrines are said to have once existed as a single entity. Ujigami Shrine and Uji Shrine were collectively called “Ujirikyu Myojin” and “Ujirikyu Hachimangu”, with Ujigami Shrine being kami-sha or hon-gu and Uji Shrine being shimo-sha or waka-miya.
In 998, Fujiwara no Michinaga acquired the Ujidono villa, and in 1052, Fujiwara no Michinaga’s son, Fujiwara no Yorimichi changed from Shinden of the Ujidono villa to Hondo and founded Byodo-in Temple as the family temple of the Fujiwara clan, and Ujigami Shrine became the guardian shrine of Byodo-in Temple along with Uji Shrine. The present Honden was built in the late Heian period (1086-1184). It is said that the 70th Emperor Go-Reizei granted Ujigami Shrine a Shinkai (Shinto rank) in 1067. In 1104, Fujiwara no Tadazane dedicated a holy horse to Ujigami Shrine. It is said that the present Haiden was built in the early Kamakura period (1185-1274). After the Meiji Restoration, Ujigami Shrine was separated from Uji Shrine and later became a Son-sha.
*reference・・・Ujigami Shrine website

【Ujigami Shrine Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Honden (Main Shrine, 本殿, National Treasure) was built in the late Heian period (1086-1184). Honden is said to be the oldest shrine building in Japan. Oiya is said to have been built in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Honden is built side by side with three inner shrines (middle, left, and right shrines) in Oiya, and enshrines Uji no Wakiiratsuko-no-mikoto in the left shrine (1st shrine), the 15th Emperor Ojin in the middle shrine (2nd shrine), and the 16th Emperor Nintoku in the right shrine (3rd shrine).
★Haiden (拝殿, National Treasure) is said to have been built in the early Kamakura period (1185-1274). Haiden is built in front of Honden and has a ceiling and wooden floors inside, surrounded by a kureen, and many shitomidos are used. Haiden was found to be made of cypress from 1215 by a survey using the tree-ring dating method in 2004.
★Kasuga Shrine (春日神社, Important Cultural Property) is said to have been built in the late Kamakura period (1275-1332). Kasuga Shrine is a branch shrine of Ujigami Shrine. Kasuga Shrine enshrines Takemikaduchi-no-mikoto and Amenokoyane-no-mikoto.
宇治上神社見どころ (Ujigami Shrine Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Kencha-sai (献茶祭) is held every year on June 1st. Kencha-sai has been held since immediately after Ujigami Shrine was registered as the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Kencha-sai is held to express gratitude for the tea harvest and to pray for the development of the tea industry and tea culture. At Kencha-sai, sencha (green tea) made from Kirihara-sui, a spring water that flows out from the shrine grounds, is offered to the gods.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is from late March to early April. Somei-Yoshino are planted along the approach to the shrine (Sawarabi-no-Michi), and beside Torii Gate, and it is said that the scenery of cherry blossoms, Torii Gate, stone monuments, the approach to the shrine, and lanterns is beautiful. At Ujigami Shrine, Yaebenishidare is also planted along the approach after passing through the Torii Gate, and they are at their best a little later than Somei Yoshino.
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is from late November to early December. Maple trees and other trees are distributed along the approaches and precincts, and it is said that the scenery of autumn leaves, approaches, Torii Gate, and Haiden is beautiful. Maple trees are planted more on the approach than on the precincts, and the approach becomes a tunnel of autumn leaves in full bloom.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

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

Tel: +81-75-771-5725

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Ujigami Shrine is via Uji Shrine and across the Uji River to Byodo-in Temple. Byodo-in Temple, like Ujigami Shrine, is a World Heritage Site, and Phoenix Hall (Houou-do) is very popular. Many cherry trees are planted along the Uji River, and a walk along the Uji River is recommended during the cherry blossom season.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Ujigami 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