Kyoto in January | First shrine visit of the New Year to Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine and Gokonomiya Shrine; stroll sake breweries in Fushimi

January 2022:

We went to Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine and Gokonomiya Shrine for the first visit of the New Year. Then we strolled through the nice old town and sake breweries in Fushimi.

Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine is located at the summit of Mt. Otokoyama, and you can reach it by hiking on Sando (path to shrine and temple) or by using the cable train. We used the cable train.

Iwashimizu hachimangu Sando Cable (with sound)
Iwashimizu hachimangu Shrine, map
Iwashimizu hachimangu Shrine, Sando
Iwashimizu hachimangu Shrine, Sando

Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine is one of the three biggest Hachimangu Shrines in Japan, and its National Treasure, the main hall, is said to be the biggest and oldest Hachiman-zukuri (one of the traditional architectural styles of shrine) in existence. The God Hachiman is the God of War, which was worshiped by significant warlords, so we prayed that we will overcome coronavirus soon.

Iwahimizu Hachimangu Shrine,  Honden (main hall)
Iwahimizu Hachimangu Shrine, Honden (main hall)
Iwahimizu Hachimangu Shrine, Honden (main hall)

There is a Thomas Alva Edison Monument in the shrine area. Edison used bamboo in Mt. Otokoyama to make filament lamps for practical use, so the monument stands here.

Thomas Alva Edison Monument

We went down on Ura-Sando (rear path to the shrine) on foot on the back way.

Iwashiizu Hachimangu Shrine, Ura-Sando
Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, Tongu-den

After that, we took a Keihan line and went to Gokonomiya Shrine. Once, fragrant water (Goko-sui) poured out in the shrine area, so it is said that the Emperor at that time gave it the name Gokonomiya Shrine. Goko-sui is one of the100 select Japanese waters, and sake breweries in Fushimi are said to use groundwater from that vein. There is a branch shrine of Matsunoo Taisha Shrine, which is one of the three biggest Gods of sake shrines in Japan. Gokonomiya Shrine seems to be connected with alcohol, so I wished for delicious alcohol this year.

Gokonomiya Shrine
Gokonomiya Shrine

After that, we went to Saito Shuzo Brewery, one of the places I wanted to go, but I wondered if coronavirus affected it because it was closed. Therefore, we changed our plan and went to Fushimi Sakagura Kouji. This is a food court with many kinds of pubs that serve many local sake from Fushimi, and we could order some food from other restaurants. We wanted to order from the popular menu, “Tasting set of 18 sake breweries,” so we had to take a seat at the bar.

Tasting set of 18 sake breweries

There was an Eikun from Saito Shuzo Brewery, and we were not able to visit that brewery, so I ordered “Tasting with 5 glasses of sake”. It was a fragrant sake set and all were delicious, but the Eikun was extraordinary.

Tasting with 5 glasses sake
Green soybeans coated with sake lees
Vinegared, smoked, and seared mackerel

After that, we strolled through Fushimi town. The tour boat, Jikkoku Fune Boat, in which you can enjoy sightseeing Fushimi town from the river, was not available because it was off-season. Terada-ya Inn, which is related to Sakamoto Ryoma, was closed. I wondered if coronavirus had caused this.

Terada-ya Inn

It is a retro sake factory for the Matsumoto Shuzo Brewery, which was built in the Taisho period.

Matsumoto Shuzo Brewery

After that, we went to Fujioka Shuzo Brewery. We planned to taste sake at a bar, but we had already had too much, so we only bought sake lees. I heard this brewery makes delicious sake, so I want to come back another time.

Fujioka Shuzo Brewery, sake lees

10:35 Cable hachimangu sanjo Sta. on Iwashimizu hachimangu Sando Cable 
11:40 Iwashimizu Hachimangu Sta. on Keihan Line
11:56 Fushimi Momoyama Sta. on Keihan Line
12:10 Gokonomiya Shrine
12:30 Fushimi Sakagura Kouji
14:30 Ramen Daichu
15:00 Stroll in Fushimi town
16:05 Fujioka Shuzo Brewery