Yoshida Shrine

The Ancient Shrine Continues to Watch Over Kyoto University

Yoshida shrine is located at the foot of Mt. Yoshida, which is part of the Higashiyama mountain range that borders the eastern edge of the city of Kyoto. Surrounded by a deep forest, the shrine stands quietly amid an undisturbed stillness. It was founded in 859, during the Heian period, by the powerful Fujiwara clan. In the latter half of the fifteenth century, Kanetomo Yoshida, as scholar and priest, established there a branch of the Shinto religion known as Yoshida Shinto. Yoshida shrine served as the center of this movement, becoming a focus of reverence for people both high and low from all over Japan. The shrine continues to be an important Shinto institution to this day. Kyoto University, which is located adjacent to Yoshida shrine, has long had a special association with it. Chief Priest Tsutomu Miyashita, w ho has held his present position since 1949, notes: " ;We have a connection with the university that goes back more than 100 years to the groundbreaking ceremony, which was performed by priests from our shrine." He also relates the following anecdote: "An elderly man more than 90 years old who graduated from Kyoto University many years ago once visited the shrine and told me, 'The university has changed completely since my day; it was only when I visited Yoshida shrine that I felt I had finally returned to my alma mater.''' Now and in the years to come Yoshida shrine will surely continue to be an ageless, unchanging presence watching over promising young people as they make their start in the world.

The vermilion lacquer of the torii gate and the pillars of the main shrine building create a lovely complement to the vivid autumn colors of Mt. Yoshida. Many graduates of Kyoto University retain a warm feeling in their hearts for this ancient shrine and the natural beauty of its setting.
The "Kurenai Moyuru" monument. It is inscribed with the words to "Kurenai Moyuru", a dormitory song of the 3rd Higher School, predecessor of Kyoto University. The song extols the beauty of Mt. Yoshida. The monument was constructed in 1957 by the 3rd Higher School Alumni Assocation in commeoration of the 90th anniversary of the school's founding.
The Daigenge strusture symbolizes the belief system of Yoshida Shinto. Many of Japan's Novel laureates are graduates of Kyoto University, and one day a newspaper reporter asked Chief Priest Miyashita why this was. "It may be a benefit of the constant protection provided by nearby Yoshida shrine," he replied.