Kitano Tenmangu is the headquarters for many Temnangu shrines across Japan, and was built in honor of Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and politician who represented the middle Heian period. Michizane is also symbolized as a god of learning here and worshiped by many visitors who are enthusiastically pursuing their studies. When I was in school, I used to visit here and pray very hard every time the date of my exams got close.
On the premises, there are many statues of cows that are said to be messengers from god. According to an old saying "if you pat a cow's head and then your head, you'll be smart", the cows' heads have been repeatedly rubbed by countless people for a long time, so that their heads are all very smooth and shiny now. There are only a few more days remaining this year, and the shrine was also busy with preparation for the new year. As shown in the picture below, a gigantic EMA with a painting of dog (symbol of the coming new year) was hoisted up above the gate.
The New Year's Day is coming soon indeed...
EMA*: votive wooden plate usually an image of a horse on it
In front of "Kitano Tenmangu" stop of Kyoto city bus, and "Kitano Tenmangu" station of Keifuku line