Shrines in Japan

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Among the many sightseeing spots in Japan, we will introduce the ones related to shrines by prefecture.

Shrines in Japan(0)

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Tokyo Prefecture

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.

Kanagawa Prefecture

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.

Gunma Prefecture

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.

Tochigi Prefecture

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.

Aichi Prefecture

Atsuta Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Atsuta Shrine was founded in the year 113, making it about 1900 years old. It is known for housing the Kusanagi Sword (also called Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi), one of the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan. The shrine complex includes a treasure hall that stores about 6,000 artifacts, a large camphor tree said to be over 1,000 years old, and the Nobunaga Fence, which was donated by Oda Nobunaga as a token of gratitude for his victory in the Battle of Okehazama.

Mie Prefecture

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.

Nagano Prefecture

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.

Kyoto Prefecture

Fushimi Inari Taisha is a shrine located in the Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City. It is fondly known as 'Oinari-san' and is the head shrine of the approximately 30,000 Inari shrines nationwide. The shrine is famous for its roughly 10,000 vermilion torii gates, donated as a sign of gratitude for wishes granted, which line the pathways of Mount Inari. Particularly famous is the Senbon Torii, a dense row of gates, which consistently ranks high among places foreigners wish to visit in Japan. Historically worshipped as the deity of agriculture and rice, it is now also revered for business prosperity, industrial development, family safety, traffic safety, and success in the performing arts.

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.

Nara Prefecture

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.

Wakayama Prefecture

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.

Hiroshima Prefecture

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.

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( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )