POINTS OF INTEREST
The approach at one of Kyoto's oldest and most stately shrines takes visitors along a path in the middle of an expanse of lawn and through the red torii gate. That same path is the scene of horse racing on May 5 and the approach of the imperial messenger of the Hollyhock Festival on May 15 as he reports the events of the court to the resident gods.
At this favorite place for weddings, visitors may be pleasantly surprised to see one taking place in the inner shrine. The grounds are vast, with smaller shrines and a stream into which believers write their wishes on pieces of kimono-shaped paper and set them afloat. In recent years, the shrine has become the setting for a torch-lit Noh drama play on the evening of July 1. On other days, families spread out their picnic blankets on the lawn or in shadier spots and enjoy the day.