Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社), once called Gion Shrine (祇園神社), is a Shinto shrine in the Gion District of Kyoto, Japan. Situated at the east end of Shijō-dōri (Fourth Avenue), the shrine includes several buildings, including gates, a main hall and a stage. The Shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period. Today, in addition to hosting the Gion Matsuri, Yasaka Shrine welcomes thousands of people every New Year, for traditional Japanese New Year rituals and celebrations.
Kyoto (京都市) is a city located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. With temples, parks, bustling business districts, markets, from regal estates to the tightly-packed neighborhoods, Kyoto is one of the oldest and most famous Asian metropolises. Although ravaged by wars, fires, and earthquakes during its eleven centuries as the imperial capital, Kyoto was spared from much of the destruction of World War II. With its 2000 religious places- 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact, it is one of the best preserved cities in Japan.