Shrines in Japan
English | Japanese
Among the many sightseeing spots in Japan, we will introduce the ones related to shrines by prefecture.
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Table of contents
Meiji Shrine, located in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, is a Shinto shrine that enshrines Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Despite being in the city, it is surrounded by a vast forest and enveloped in tranquility. The shrine grounds include a beautiful garden planted with irises and a treasury house, along with power spots like the 'Kiyomasa's Well'. The shrine has the highest number of visitors in Japan for the New Year's first shrine visit, and is deeply loved by many.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine was built by Minamoto no Yoriyoshi and dedicated to the present location by Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate. It is characterized by its vermilion-lacquered shrine pavilions and the main shrine, which enshrines the Hachiman God, who presides over luck in victory and work. Within the precincts are Genji Pond and Heike Pond, which provide a beautiful scene of cherry blossoms and lotus flowers in bloom, depending on the season.
Hakone Shrine, a serene Shinto sanctuary nestled in the lush forests near Lake Ashi, offers visitors a spiritual and cultural experience in a tranquil atmosphere. The shrine features iconic torii gates, pathways leading to the water's edge, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. As a must-visit destination in the Hakone region, Hakone Shrine provides a glimpse into Japan's rich history and spiritual traditions.
Myogi Shrine, nestled at the foot of the dramatic Mount Myogi in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, is a serene place known for its stunning natural beauty and historic significance. Its tranquil atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape make it a must-visit destination. The shrine is especially enchanting during the autumn season when the leaves change colors.
Nikko Toshogu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tochigi Prefecture, offers a fascinating insight into Japanese history and culture. The shrine, dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, boasts stunning architectural elements such as the Yomeimon Gate and Five-story Pagoda. Intricate carvings, especially the Sleeping Cat and Three Wise Monkeys, offer a glimpse into Japanese folklore, while the Toshogu Museum of Art exhibits valuable historical artifacts. The beauty of the site is further enhanced during autumn and spring with changing foliage and cherry blossoms, respectively.
Atsuta Shrine, located in Nagoya, Japan, is a highly revered Shinto shrine with over 1,900 years of history. The shrine is home to the sacred sword Kusanagi, one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan, and attracts millions of visitors every year. The tranquil forest surrounding the shrine provides a peaceful atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for experiencing Japan's spiritual and natural beauty.
Ise Jingu, or Ise Grand Shrine, is a revered Shinto shrine complex in Mie Prefecture, Japan, considered the spiritual home of the Japanese people. Comprising of 125 individual shrines, including the Inner Shrine (Naik?) and Outer Shrine (Gek?), it is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu and other Shinto deities. The tranquil, forested setting and the elegant, ancient architectural style make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a profound cultural and spiritual experience.
Suwa Taisha, also known as Suwa Grand Shrine, is a sacred Shinto shrine complex in Nagano Prefecture, known for its ancient history and spiritual significance. Visitors can admire its beautiful architecture, expansive grounds, and tranquil atmosphere, while experiencing the rich cultural traditions of Shintoism. The shrine is particularly famous for its biennial Onbashira Festival, a spectacular event that showcases the vitality of the local community and their deep connection with nature.
Togakushi Shrine, nestled in the beautiful Togakushi mountain range in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, is a sacred Shinto shrine complex with a rich history and serene atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a picturesque hike through the cedar-lined forest path, leading to the shrine's five distinct areas. The stunning natural surroundings and spiritual ambiance make Togakushi Shrine a must-visit destination for those seeking tranquility and a connection with Japan's ancient traditions.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is a significant shrine located in Kyoto City and is the head shrine of the numerous Inari shrines found all over Japan. The main deity enshrined here is the Inari God (Ukanomitama-no-kami), and it is known as a place where people pray for bountiful harvests and business prosperity. The symbolic 'Thousand Torii Gates' line the pathway, creating a photogenic spectacle, and making it one of the iconic tourist spots in Kyoto.
Heian Shrine is a stunning Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, known for its striking vermilion architecture and expansive Japanese gardens. Dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei, it offers a serene, spiritual experience. A visit to Heian Shrine allows travelers to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Japan's ancient capital.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a historical and cultural landmark in Kyoto, dedicated to the deity of scholarship and learning.Visitors can explore the shrine's numerous buildings and structures, including the iconic main hall with its distinctive architecture and vibrant red color.Additionally, the shrine's grounds are a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing during the spring season.
Yasaka Shrine, located in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto City, has been affectionately known as "Gion-san." In the main hall, a designated National Treasure, there are believed to be various benefits such as warding off bad luck, matchmaking, and prospering business. Within the shrine grounds, deities of beauty and matchmaking are enshrined. Moreover, the Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held at Yasaka Shrine, attracting many visitors.
Kasuga Taisha is a shrine located in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, and is the head shrine of approximately 1,000 Kasuga Shrines nationwide. It was founded in 768 AD during the Nara period, by the Fujiwara clan, by the imperial command of Empress Shōtoku, to pray for the protection of the Heijo-kyo capital and the prosperity of its citizens. Around 3,000 lanterns, donated since the Heian period, can be seen along the shrine's approach and around the main hall's corridors. Kasuga Taisha is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.
Sumiyoshi Taisha, also known as Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is a historic Shinto shrine in Osaka, Japan, revered for its unique architectural style and tranquil atmosphere. As one of Japan's oldest shrines, it holds immense cultural and spiritual significance, attracting both tourists and worshippers. Visitors can explore the picturesque grounds, admire the vermilion-colored Taiko Bridge, and appreciate the shrine's ancient history and rich traditions.
Kumano Nachi Taisha is a grand shrine in a stunning natural setting, offering a unique blend of Shinto and Buddhist spiritual traditions, and magnificent views of the tallest waterfall in Japan.
Kumano Hongu Taisha is a grand shrine enveloped in lush greenery, featuring unique architecture and the world's largest Torii gate, offering a profound spiritual experience.
Kumano Hayatama Taisha is a vibrant Shinto shrine with significant cultural assets, nestled near the mouth of the Kumano River, offering a blend of natural beauty and spiritual resonance.
Itsukushima Shrine, also known as Miyajima, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Famous for its "floating" torii gate, the shrine offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. Its serene atmosphere, traditional architecture, and the surrounding scenic views make it a must-visit attraction for any traveler in Japan.
Thank you for reading to the end.
( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )