Tokyo has an amazing collection of Temples & Shrines, located all over the city. There are many Temples & Shrines that have a history going back thousands of years. These Temples & Shrines in Tokyo are very important to Japanese people, who will visit them to pray with the hope of achieving good luck with a personal issue, such as business, relationships or marriage, education, sickness and health, and other matters. Here is a list of The Best Shrines & Temples in Tokyo.
The Best Shrines & Temples in Tokyo
Meiji Jingu Shrine was originally constructed and dedicated to Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the war and the present compound was rebuilt in 1958. Meiji Jingu Shrine is a large area for Tokyo, made up of compounds and an inner Tokyo city Forrest which is intertwined with walking paths. The Shrine is surrounded by a large forest of 100,000 trees, made up of over 365 different species that were donated from regions across Japan. Along the pathway to the entrance of the shrine, there are massive wooden torii gates, and colorful sake barrels that are stored in the middle of the approach to the shrine’s main complex.
This is Tokyo’s most visited and popular shrine. Around New Year’s day, there are over three million visitors. This shrine is also very popular with couples having traditional Shinto weddings. This shrine compound and its surrounding areas have a very relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Location: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo Train Access: Harajuku Station, 5 min walk Google Maps
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is Tokyo’s oldest temple and was founded in 628. Sensoji Temple is one of the most popular temples in Tokyo and it draws millions of visitors a year. The temple has a very imposing entrance with a bright red gate, a few temple buildings, and a large five-story pagoda.
This temple has its own large shopping area. There is a long 250 meter-long entrance walkway, Nakamise-dori, filled with hundreds of shops that are selling snacks, meals and a wide selection of Japanese souvenirs. Location: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo Train Access: Asakusa Station, 3 min walk Google Maps
Zojoji temple was originally built in 1393 but was moved to its present location in 1598 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who selected it as his family temple. The temple holds the mausoleum of the Tokugawa clan (family) who ruled Japan from the 17th century through to the 19th century, as well as the tombs of six of the fifteen Tokugawa shoguns (rulers).
The small museum in the basement of the temple main hall focuses primarily on the previous manifestation of the Tokugawa Mausoleum. Zojoji is also renowned for its Sangedatsu Gate, a building dating from 1622. It is supposedly the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo. The giant Daibonsho bell made in 1673, is still rung six times a day. The Temple has a tree planted there by 18th U.S. president, Ulysses S. Grant, that is still growing strong. Location: 4 Chome-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato City, Tokyo Train Access: Hamamatsucho Station, 10 min walk Google Maps
Sengakuji Temple is a small temple near Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. This temple is famous for its graveyard where the “47 Ronin” Samurai are buried, also called the Ako incident. The story of the 47 Ronin is very popular in Japan. There is a small single-room memorial museum dedicated to the 47 ronin, which includes items such as letters, samurai armor, and watch videos explaining the history of the temple.
Many people visit the temple to pay respect to the 47 ronin by burning incense sticks in the graveyard. Location: 2 Chome-11-1 Takanawa, Minato City, Tokyo Train Access: Sengakuji Station, 1 min walk Google Maps
Nezu Shrine was built in 1706. The Nezu shrine compound is very beautiful in its construction with an amazing collection of old buildings, that are well preserved and kept in original condition. The shrine has a beautifully landscaped garden and hundreds of bright red torii gates that make tunnel-like paths around part of the shrine grounds that visitors can walk around.
The Nezu shrine is popular for holding traditional weddings and it also holds one of Tokyo’s most spectacular flower festivals, the “Bunkyo Azalea Festival” This occurs every spring and brings an explosion of pinks, whites and purple colors to the shrine. Location: 1 Chome-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo City, Tokyo Train Access: Nezu Station, Sendagi Station, 5 min walk Google Maps
Tennoji Temple was founded in 1274 and it is a Buddhist temple that is set in the Yanaka cemetery. The original temple is a dedication to Nichiren, one of the most influential Buddhist figures in Japanese history. This is a well-landscaped park that has a large attractive entrance concrete gate. Walking down the Sakura-dori, there is a great collection of Sakura, Japanese cherry trees, that come alive in the spring. A large bronze statue of a praying Buddha dominates the main lawn.
You will also find a beautiful statue of Kannon the Goddess of mercy. Kannon is reported to have the ability to help relieve suffering. Location: 7 Chome-14-8 Yanaka, Taito City, Tokyo Train Access: Nippori Station, a few min walk Google Maps
Yasukuni Shrine was founded in 1869, with the purpose of enshrining those who have died in war for Japan. The spirits of about 2.5 million people who died for Japan during wartimes are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine in the form of written records. These records note the name, origin, date, and place of death of everyone enshrined.
The shrine grounds has its own war museum (Yushukan War Museum), and many statues and memorials that are connected with past wars. There is an amazing collection of cherry blossom trees (Sakura) and large imposing torii gates that lead to the main shrine building. Location: 3 Chome-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda City, Tokyo Train Access: Kudanshita Station, 3 min walk Google Maps
Yushima Seido Temple was established in Ueno and was moved to its present site in 1690, by the religious teacher to the first four Shoguns, the Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (1583-1657). Confucianism was imported from mainland China and had a great influence on the thinking, attitudes, and morals of Japanese people at the time. This makes Yushima Seido Temple a very important historical institution.
Yushima Seido was the site of several education-related institutions. and was the official training center for bureaucrats of the Shogunate during the Edo era (1603-1867). This temple has had an important place in the development of Japan’s education system. Although the present buildings were reconstructed in 1935, the current construction is a reflection of the temple’s history. The temple is also the home of the world’s biggest bronze Confucius statue, at over 4.5 meters. Location: 1-4-25 Yushima, Bunkyo City, Tokyo Train Access: Ochanomizu Station, a few min walk Google Maps
Yushima Tenjin Shrine was founded in the fifth century. This Shinto shrine was established in order to worship Ameno-Tajikaraono-Mikoto, a famous deity that appears in Japanese myths. Later, the spirit of Sugawara Michizane, another historical figure was also enshrined due to his extraordinary virtue as a scholar. Nowadays many students visit this shrine to pray for the success of passing examinations and express their reverence to the enshrined spirit of learning.
The building is constructed of cedar and has the design of a late-15th-century. The details of the architecture are filled with impressive carvings of various scenes. There is a beautiful bronze “stroking cow” that is believed to assist healing. The shrine is also famous for its beautiful Ume (Japanese apricot) blossoms. Location: 3 Chome-28-1 Yushima, Bunkyo City, Tokyo Train Access: Yushima Station, 3 min walk Google Maps
Toyokawa Inari Betsuin Temple was originally built in 1828. This temple is known for countless statues of foxes which creates a very unique atmosphere. The foxes are associated with temples of Inari (the Shinto deity of rice) and this is why every “inari” temple has foxes on-site and worship them as a god.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the temple was visited by people who wish to be promoted or be successful in their business activities. After the early 20th century, the temple has been more popular among people who want to have success in the entertainment industry, and athletes. Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Moto-Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo Train Access: Akasaka Mitsuke Station, 5 min walk Google Maps
Hie Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nagatacho, in downtown Tokyo. The present shrine buildings were built in 1958, after the original building was lost during the war. Hie shrine has a very long history that goes back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The deity enshrined is Oyamakui-no-kami, the god of Mount Hie in the Shiga prefecture. The Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa was a patron of Hie Shrine and worshipped the deity as the protector of Edo (the old name for Tokyo). Hie shrine also has enshrined the guardian deity of the Shogun.
This shrine compound has a massive large black gate at the entrance and is a very scenic shrine and has a great collection of art, ornaments, and a bright red tori gate tunnel. The shrine is a popular place to pray for love, marriage, and the easy delivery of children. It is also famous for its Shinto rites marriages. Location: 2 Chome-10-5 Nagatacho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo Train Access: Akasaka Station, Tameike-Sanno Station, 5 min walk Google Maps
Gotokuji Temple is a very popular site to visit and is different than the other temples you will find in Tokyo. This temple is known as the place of origin of Manekineko, the waving cat good luck charm. The cat is a symbol of a very popular lucky charm in Japan, where people believe it will bring luck to its owner. At Gotokuji Temple, there are a massive amount of cat statues all around the grounds that number possibly in the thousands.
Today, people visit the temple and buy the Manekineko cats dolls hoping that their wish comes true. The common practice is to purchase a Manekineko the waving cat good luck charm and make a wish. If your wish comes true, tradition says that you are supposed to return and give the doll back to the temple. This is why the temple has a large number of cats, and it is known as one of the most blessed temples in Tokyo. Location: 2 Chome-24-7 Gotokuji, Setagaya City, Tokyo Train Access: Miyanosaka Station, a few min walk Google Maps
Tsukiji Honganji Temple is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhism temple, which is Japan’s most practiced form of Buddhism. It was originally built in 1617. From 1931 to 1934, the main hall of the temple was reconstructed in the style of ancient Indian architecture. This is one of the newest temples in Tokyo, and it has western influences and a unique look that is not common with the other temples and shrines.
The temple is located next to the old Tsukiji fish market and it is a very popular destination. There is a great collection of Japanese ornamentation and religious fixtures, a massive pipe organ that has 2,000 pipes and stained glass windows that are common in western churches. Location: 3 Chome-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo Train Access: Tsukiji Station, 2 min walk Google Maps
Namiyoke Inari Shrine was founded in 1659 when this area was reclaimed from the sea, and the present shrine complex was completed in 1937. The site of the Namiyoke Shrine began when the people began to pray to the deity Ukanomitama-no-Mikoto for the rough ocean to calm down. After the people prayed, legend has it the waves suddenly became calm.
This is where the guardian divinity of the Tsukiji district is enshrined. The temple houses a very large male lion, a stone egg display and several monuments dedicated to different kinds of seafood. Location: 6 Chome-20-37 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo Train Access: Tsukiji Station, 9 min walk Google Maps
The Ueno Toshogu is a Shinto shrine that was built in 1616 in what is now Ueno Park. The shrine had a major renovation in 2013. This is one of the most important shrines in Japan and it enshrines the first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the founder of Edo Shogunate and one of Japans most famous warriors.
The traditionally structured shrine is a popular attraction. Its stunning buildings are trimmed in gold leaf, beautifully intricate carvings and on the walkway are bronze lanterns and a five-storied pagoda. Many people come to pray at the shrine for good fortune, passing examinations or doing well at school, and recovery from illness. Tokugawa Ieyasu is believed to be a powerful deity, and visitors pray at this shrine for good luck. Location: 9-88 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo Train Access: Ueno Station, 9 min walk Google Maps
Kanda Myojin Shrine was founded in 730 and is the oldest shrine in Tokyo. The shrine was moved to the current location in 1603. The Kanda Festival (Kanda Matsuri) is one of the three major Shinto festivals in Tokyo. It was started in 1600 by Tokugawa Ieyasu to celebrate his decisive victory at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 that united Japan.
Kanda Myojin Shrine has three gods that are enshrined for eternity. They include Daikokuten, who presides over bountiful harvests and matrimony, Ebisu, the god of fisheries and business, and Taira Masakado a feudal lord of the 10th century who later earned revered status. This shrine is popular with visitors to pray for wealth and prosperity, good luck and marriage success. Location: 2 Chome-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo Train Access: Suehirocho Station, 5 min walk Google Maps
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine was originally established in 1880 and moved to its present site in 1928. It is consistently ranked as one of Tokyo’s top five shrines. Enshrined at the shrine are the deities Amaterasu-Sume-Okami who is one of the most famous deities as guardians of the Japanese people. Also enshrined is Toyouke-no-Okami who is the guardian of farming, housing, food, and clothing and three deities responsible for the creation and growth of all things.
Today, it is common to hold wedding ceremonies at shrines in Japan. The first wedding ceremony at a shrine was held at Tokyo Daijingu Shrine in 1900. Tokyo Daijingu is known as the shrine of love. It is very popular among women, and it has been known as the place to pray for finding a partner or ensuring a successful marriage. You will see lots of young women lined up to pray or buy a lucky charm with the hope of improving their fortunes in love, or lust. Location: 2-4-1, Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Train Access: Iidabashi Station, 5 min walk Google Maps
Atago Shrine was established in 1603 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu to protect Edo (Tokyo) from fire and disasters. It was built on the top of Mt. Atago, the highest natural terrain mountain (25.7 meters) in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The shrine is famous for people to pray for good luck for their careers. Many people take the long and steep climb up 86 “Stone steps to success” stairs needed to walk up directly up to the shrine, as it is supposed to bring business fortune and success.
On top of the small mountain, there are also many smaller shrines, shrine gates, and a pond that is filled with carp. Location: 1-Chome-5 Atago, Minato City, Tokyo Train Access: Toranomon Station, 11 min walk Google Maps
Nogi Shrine was established in 1923 and the present shrine was built in 1962. The shrine compound includes examples of western architecture style that was constructed during the Meiji period. This shrine has been called the last samurai shrine. This shrine was built on the property of the Meiji era army general and educator Nogi Maresuke.
Nogi Maresuke committed seppuku (ritual suicide by self-disembowelment) and his wife also killed herself to prove their dedication to the leader following the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912. Location: 8 Chome-11-27 Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo Train Access: Nogizaka Station, 1 min walk Google Maps
Inokashira Benzaiten Shrine is a small red Shinto shrine. It is devoted to the Benzaiten goddess who is the deity of everything that flows, including knowledge, water, and music. The statue of Benzaiten is housed in the shrine and depicts a beautiful goddess with eight arms. It is designated a Hibutsu (“Hidden Buddha”), or hidden goddess and the goddess is shown to the public only once every 12 years, in the year of the snake in the Chinese calendar.
This beautiful Benzaiten goddess has a rather sinister urban legend attached to her. Couples are warned to avoid the park, because going there will cause the Benzaiten to get jealous and curse the couple, causing them to break up. Despite this legend, you will find many couples at the park every day. The park is very scenic and much too beautiful to miss just for a rumor, especially in spring when cherry blossoms trees explode around the lake. Location: 4 Chome-1 Inokashira, Mitaka, Tokyo Train Access: Kichijoji Station, 12 min walk Google Maps
Shinagawa Shrine was founded in 1187. It’s one of the ten shrines that surround the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The entrance has a large torii gate that features detailed dragons carved into each pillar. This shrine is designed to honor the god of food.
One unique feature at this shrine is the presence of a Fujizuka. A Fujizuka is a mound imitating Mt. Fuji. The Fujizuka’s used to be made from the Edo period to the early Showa era for worshippers who could not climb Mt. Fuji. This Fujizuka was created in 1869 and is 15 meters high and is the largest surviving Fujizuka mound in Japan. This Fujizuka mound is covered with lava rocks that were delivered from the foot of Mt. Fuji. Location: 3 Chome-7-15 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa City, Tokyo Train Access: Shimbamba Station, 3 min walk Google Maps
Kogan-ji Temple was established in 1596 and it was moved to its present location in 1891. This shrine is known as the temple of healing. There is a statue “Arai Kannon” known as the washing deity, that is standing in front of the main building. It is said that if you pour water on a cloth and polish the same part of the Arai Kannon statue as the part of your body which ails you, your illness will go away.
The shine has adopted the story of “Togenuki” (thorn removal) which is about a housemaid that mistakenly swallowed a needle. But when she ate a piece of paper with the image of the deity Jizo on it, she was able to spit out the needle. A samurai drew 10,000 pictures of the deity Jizo to attempt to cure his sick wife. Today, visitors can receive a copy of this picture, which you’re supposed to place over the site of your illness or even eat to help you recover. Location: 3 Chome-35-2 Sugamo, Toshima City, Tokyo Train Access: Sugamo Station, 10 min walk Google Maps
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