God of pestilence has protected Kyoto against diseases
Imamiya shrine is also called Tamanokoshi Jinja and is near Daitoku-ji Temple. It is said there was a building dedicated to a god of pestilence built before 790 s. The building and a new shrine built in 1001 were collectively named Imamiya-sha. Most of the buildings are reconstructions made at the beginning of 20th century, but they were built in the style of the time when the shrine was named Imamiya-sha.
The shrine maintains worship of gods for protection against epidemics. Yasurai Matsuri, one of the three most eccentric festivals of Kyoto, has its origin in rituals to pray for an end of diseases that spread in Kyoto. The festival is held on the second Sunday of April every year. According to legend, people who get under the flower umbrella of the festival's parade will be safe from illness; if the day is fine, it will be fine on all festival days in Kyoto during the year.
A stone called Ahokashi-san in the shrine is believed to possess magical properties for the sick. If a person rubs the stone and then rubs an injured area of their body, it is said that they will heal quicker than normal. Furthermore, if a person taps the stone three times, then lifts it, the stone will feel heavy. Afterwards, if the same person strokes the stone three times while making a wish and then lifts it for a second time and the stone feels light, it is said that their wish will be granted.
Address: 21 Murasakino-imamiya-cho, Kyoto Kita-ku, Kyoto
Hours open to visitors: 9:00-17:00 (Shrine office)
Admission Fee: Free entrance to the grounds
Directions: 40 minutes by bus from JR Kyoto Station (15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station), or
10 minutes by bus from Kita-oji subway station; alight at Imamiya Shrine
(Car) 30 minutes from Kyoto Minami or Kyoto Higashi Interchange on the Meishin Expressway (a fee is charged for parking).