Sitting at the base of Ko-yama, in an area of Kyoto said for centuries to be a gateway for malign and evil spirits and demons to enter the city is the World Heritage Shinto Shrine Kamigamo Jinja. It is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan dating back to the 7th century during the Heian Era and is connected to the Shimogamo Jinja further south as upper and lower shrines of the Kamo Shrine. The two shrines with their venerated deities (the Thunder God Kamo Wake Ikazuchi at Kamigamo) serve to protect Kyoto from the above-mentioned demons and evil entities.
As well as this story of demons and paranormal related entities there is another interesting and mysterious location at the Jinja. In a moss covered gated off area by the shallow Nara no Ogawa river that runs to the east side of the grounds is a large stone (pictured below right) that stands over a metre high and wide. A wooden board by the stone explains that here there used to be a pond which was home to a dragon. The stone apparently came from the bottom of the pond and gives energy to anyone who lays their hands on it.
An interesting point about this story is that not far to the east is Midorogaike pond (famous for the story of the ghost in the taxi, which will be covered in a future blog post), there is an old story that a giant serpent or snake lives in the pond. Could it be that these two tales may well at some point in the past have stemmed from the same early story that grew into two similar folklore related tales? Could the Giant Serpent of Midorogaike and the Kamigamo Dragon be the same creature?
Kamigamo Jinja is about a 20 minute walk from Kitayama Station by the Kyoto Botanical gardens. HIDDEN PATHS visited Kamigamo before the covid pandemic and it is advised to not to travel until the current situation has eased.