Shimogoryo Shrine enshrines GRYOs (souls of deceased people) of emperors and noble mans who died with malice and grudges. Based on the religion called GRYO Shinko, GYOs of tragic death are worshipped here as gods, so as to protect people from disasters or epidemics.
KOMAINU, a statue of an imaginary dog-like creature, usually set at the entrance of shrines or temples as a pair, sitting face to face each other. Among many KOMAINUs of many temples and shrines in Kyoto, the ones here are very famous for their smiling expressions, as you see in the picture.
You will find regular KOMAINUs rather scary since most of them wear threatening expressions. But weather smiling or threatening, they are not ferocious at all. They are just protecting their shrines or temples firmly. If you know the fact, their scary looks turn into somehow cute! They will warm your heart too!
In EMA (votive wooden plate), they are smiling too! Please go visit and see the real ones.