12. Shimogamo Shrine 下鴨神社 or Shimogamo jinja is an important Shinto sanctuary in Kyoto. The shrine occupies a ‘power spot’ at the confluence of two rivers. Shimogamo gives us the sense of being surrounded by nature as it sits within a forest, a remnant of a primeval forest mentioned in Tales of Genji. The shrine is approached by a long trail through a forest of broadleaf trees, rare in Japan where so many of the forests have been cut down and replanted with cedar. That is what makes this forest and shrine particularly special, considering that it is within a large city.