The magnificent vermilion-and-white gate of Kyoto's central shrine retains an essential role in the city's fiscal good fortune: in addition to the good-luck charms people flock here to buy, you will see the names of the city's biggest stores and companies adorning each glowing lantern hanging from the main hall's eaves, each of them sponsors seeking to gain financial favor. The shrine was built in the 7th century above an underground lake to ensure that the god who resides in the east—the blue water dragon—receives the fresh water needed to ensure healthy Earth energy. The original enshrined Shinto deity, Susano-no-Mikoto, later came to be associated with the Buddhist spirit Gozu Ten-no, a protector against pestilence and god of prosperity. Also known as Gion Shrine, Yasaka hosts the Gion Festival, which started in 869 as a religious ritual to rid the city of a terrible plague that originated in Kyoto and swiftly spread all over Japan. From Kyoto Station take Bus 206 or 100 to the Gion bus stop; the shrine is just off Higashi-oji-dori.
625 Gion-machi, Kitagawa, Kyōto, 605-0073, Japan