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Hirano Jinja Review
Near Kinkaku-ji, the gorgeous cherry blossoms at this modest shrine have been the focus of an annual spring festival since 985. The pale pink petals contrast with vermilion lanterns lining the lanes of this Heian-style complex. The shrine was brought here from Nagaoka, the country's capital after Nara and before Kyoto. The four buildings you can visit date from the 17th century. Recently installed next to a 400-year-old camphor tree is a huge magnetic boulder from Iwate, chosen for the power it is said to contain. Access is via Bus 50, 52, or 100 to Kitano Tenmongu-mae. From there, the shrine is a 10-minute walk north.
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