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Photo #55 – Approach to Heian Shrine, Heian Jingu’s Torii Gate

Female rickshaw driver approaches Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto, Japan Heian Jingu torii gate in background.

This photo was taken on the day I attended a kyudo examination at the Kyoto Budo Center just around the corner from the Heain Jingu Shrine. Episode 5 of the Savage Japan Podcast, the racism episode, was recorded at the nearby Kyoto International Community Center shortly after this photo was taken. Episode 5 with its difficult subject matter is proving to be a tough episode to crank out. The current target date for availability is Friday, September 10th. You can hear previous episodes of the Savage Japan Podcast at SavageJapan.com or SavageSnowPodcast.com.


After rounding the corner from the Kyoto Budo Center on my way to my first visit to the Kyoto International Community House, with the entrance to Heian Jingu behind me, I spotted this female rickshaw driver heading my way.

I had a relatively clear road, the giant Heian Jingu torii gate in my sights for the first time ever, and this rickshaw driver unknowingly doing her best to set up an iconic Kyoto photo for me. You can probably imagine how frantically I was digging into my little backpack trying to get my camera out before the moment slipped away. :-)

I think it’s pretty cool that this photo represents my first few seconds ever in this vicinity of Kyoto, and I also really like the fact that the rickshaw driver is a girl. I think she is the only female rickshaw driver I’ve ever seen in Japan.

I’m getting more accustomed to seeing this giant Kyoto landmark since taking this photo. I’ve biked through this part of town a few times now, but the Heian Jingu torii gate is still new enough to me for it to command a moment of acknowledgment every time I pass by. Often, I comment out loud how freakin’ huge it is. This torii gate’s size is even more shocking when you are very close to it.

The Heian Jingu shrine is one of the newer shrines in 1200 year old Kyoto, with the main structure having been built in 1894 or 1895 (the official Heian Jingu website cryptically references both years). The pictured torii gate was constructed much more recently in 1929. I will venture inside the shrine area (behind me in this photo) and photograph the main Heian site in the future.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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