A growing number of people gather at the temple as night falls. They come for the Mitarashi Festival, a foot-bathing ritual held each year over a four-day period around the Day of the Ox (which falls in the latter part of July on different dates depending on the year). The Ashitsuke Shinji, or ritual foot bathing, involves entering the Mitarashi pond on the grounds of the temple, lighting a candle at the altar and saying a prayer for good health. The purification ceremony was used by nobles during the Heian Period to cleanse themselves of any disgrace or wrongdoing, and gradually it spread among the common people. This World Heritage site is truly exceptional in the glow of candles and paper lanterns during the festival period, when Shimogamo Temple becomes the very symbol of summer.
The Mitarashi Festival continues during the day, as well, but nighttime provides the most atmosphere. The World Heritage site rises above the flickering light of candles like a vision from a dream, truly a sight to behold!
(L) The approach to the pond, where one can hear voices crying out “Its cold!”（C）The water is knee deep. Plastic bags to hold one’s shoes are sold at the entrance.（R）Visitors light their candles and proceed on. Candles are sold at the entrance (200 yen).
（L）There are several stations where one can light one’s candle, so the wait is not long.（R）Here votives are lit as prayers for good health are offered.
59 Shimogamo Izumigawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto, 606-0807, Japan
|Open||5:30a.m. - 10:30p.m.each year over a four-day period around the Day of the Ox (which falls in the latter part of July on different dates depending on the year).|
|Access||1 minute walk from City Bus Stop Shimogamo-jinja Mae10 minute walk from Keihan Demachiyanagi Station|