02 Nov 2016

In Japan, there are many shrines and temples with different architecture styles. Hundreds of temples and shrines spread throughout Tokyo. Kyoto alone has more than 10 shrines and temples which have been registered as World Heritage Sites.

But you can find spectacular shrines and temples not just in big cities. Some of them has become popular spiritual power spots for both Japanese and tourists from all over the world. Here is the list of 20 shrines and temples in Japan.

  

Sensoji Temple

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Get an impression of Japanese culture at Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, and Nakamise-dori with its many shops
Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple and surrounding the main temple is a 5-story pagoda as well as various shops along Nakamise-dori leading up to the temple. The famous Sanja Festival, which snakes its way through the temple grounds, and the Hozuki Festival occur along with other events on a yearly basis at Sensoji Temple.

Sensoji at the centre of the Edo Period culture During the Edo period, Sensoji Temple was used as the main temple of prayer for the Tokugawa shogunate and resultantly, Sensoji Temple flourished in the city of Edo. Asakusa as a whole is representative of this shitamachi (downtown-style) culture during the Edo Period, and Sensoji Temple is the sightseeing spot that represents this history and culture of Asakusa largely due to the number of visitors it receives on a yearly basis. There are over a staggering 30 million worshippers whom visit t...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
03-3842-0181
Price
- Free
Website
www.senso-ji.jp

Meiji Jingu Shrine

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Feel the mystical energy of the Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine, located in the Shibuya district in Tokyo, attracts the greatest number of visitors from throughout Japan for hatsumode or the first shrine visit of the New Year. If you happen to be lucky enough on the day of your visit, you could catch a glimpse of a traditional wedding ceremony.

Meiji Jingu Every New Year’s Day on ‘hatsumode’, Meiji Jingu, which is over 700,000 square meters in size, receives around 3 million worshippers, reflecting its ability to attract the greatest amount of visitors in the nation. Considering the amount of lush greenery located inside the perimeters of Meiji Jingu, it is hard to believe that it is located in the same vicinity as bustling commercial centers such as Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya. To reach the shrine from JR Harajuku station is a mere 5 minutes away and one coul...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
from dawn to dusk
Phone
03-3379-9281
Price
- Free
Website
www.meijijingu.or.jp

 

Ise Jingu Naiku (Kotaijingu)

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

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Japan’s prominent holy ground enshrining the goddess Amaterasu-omikami, the tutelary god of the Japanese people
Naiku (Inner Shrine) which is officially known as Kotajingu is a prestigious shrine that has been venerated by generations of Emperors. Within its 93ha grounds, an ancient forest spreads out and there is a majesty to the atmosphere.

After sightseeing at the Geku (Outer Shrine), go to the Naiku where the highest god is enshrined   Naiku enshrines Amaterasu-omikami, the progenitor of the Imperial Household and the tutelary god of the Japanese people. The object of worship is the Yata-no-Kagami (Sacred Mirror), and along with the Yasakani-no-Magatama (Jewel) and the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (Sword), they are collectively called The Three Sacred Treasures. Within Naiku, there is the Shogu which enshrines Amaterasu-omikami, plus 2 associate shrines and 10 administrative shrines....

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Business hours
- Everyday (5:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0596-24-1111
Price
- Free
Website
www.isejingu.or.jp

Kinkakuji

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Kinkakuji – the World Heritage site of gold that glitters with nature in each season
Kinkakuji was established in 1397 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The dazzling appearance of the reliquary hall on the temple grounds, which is decorated with gold leaf, is what Kinkakuji is known for.

Kinkaku glitters with gold Kinkaku is a three-story building made of wood. The first story is in the style of a Heian palace, the second story is in samurai-house style, and the third story is in the style of a Zen Buddhist temple. The second and third stories are covered in gold leaf, as is the inside of the third story, except for the floor. The Kinkakuji seen today was rebuilt in 1955 after the building was destroyed by fire in 1950. Major repairs were carried out in 1986, when the gold leaf was reapplied so as to achieve the appearance see...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-461-0013
Price
- Adult: 400 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

Fushimi Inari Shrine


Fushimi Inari Shrine – A 1,300 years old shrine for the God of bountiful crops and prosperous business
Serving as a place of worship for commoners over 1,300 years, Fushimi Inari Shrine is the headquarters of inari shrines. The tunnel consisting of 10,000 torii gates is something to see. Enjoy a stroll through the gently rolling land of the spacious grounds of the shrine.

Red torii gates and white foxes – the symbols of Fushimi Inari Shrine For more than 1,300 years, people have come to Fushimi Inari Shrine to worship the Inari God that assures bountiful crops. The shrine is the headquarters of the more than 30,000 inari shrines across Japan. The red torii gates and white foxes are the symbols of Fushimi Inari Shrine. It is said that the red color of the torii gates and the shrine building has power against supernatural powers and that the color also indicates the bountifulness of the Inari God. Foxes are...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Shrine grounds are open 24 hours a day
Phone
075-641-7331
Price
- Free
Website
en.wikipedia.org

Kumano Nachi Taisha

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

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Nachi Taisha – a sacred location in Kumano that overlooks the scenic Nachi Falls
Nachi Taisha is among the red-lacquer temples that glisten among the mountains along the beautiful stone steps of the Kumano Kodo route. Here, close to Nachi Falls, you will experience the impressive nature of Kumano.

Nachi Taisha – a World Heritage site Nachi Taisha is one of the Kumano Sanzan (three sacred shrines), and both the shrine and the grounds are designated World Heritage sites. The shrine, consisting of six buildings at the top of 467 stone steps, is situated in the Nachi mountains at a height of approximately 500m. From the temple grounds, you can see Nachi Falls, which is a designated National Place of Scenic Beauty. The beautiful red-lacquer shrine also features Bird Rock (karasu-ishi), which is said to be the petrified form of Yatagara...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0735-55-0321
Price
- Free
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

Toshogu Shrine

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

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Toshogu shrine – An extravagantly decorated World Heritage site
Toshogu enshrines Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun who established the Edo Shogunate. In addition to the spectacular, extravagantly decorated Yomemon gate, there are many highlights including the Sleeping Cat and the Three Wise Monkeys.

Animal sculptures and carvings are the highlights of Toshogu shrine Toshogu enshrines Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun (military governor) of the Edo Shogunate (government), and it is also the location of Ieyasu’s grave. It was originally a simple and plain structure but the third Shogun Iemitsu built a host of brilliant shrines. This section introduces the must-see spots of Toshogu shrine. When the temple bell of Rinnoji is sounded at 8 o’clock in the morning, the gate of Toshogu shrine is opened. The shrine begins to get crowde...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
0288-54-0560
Price
- Adult: 1300 JPY
- Child: 450 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

Yahiko Shrine

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The power spot for love and good fortune is a solemn shrine standing at the tranquil foot of a mountain
The beautiful and commanding presence of Yahiko Shrine stands in Yahiko Village in the middle of magnanimous Mother Nature. Many people from all over the country flock to the shrine as a power spot granting wishes

A dignified and historical shrine cradled by the sacred Mt. Yahiko Yahiko Shrine at the foot of the sacred 638m Mt. Yahiko is said to have been established with the enshrinement of the god Amanokaguyama-no-mikoto who taught fishing, rice cultivation, salt production and the other basics of farming to the area residents as well as contributed to the building of the nation. On its 113ha precincts, there are plenty of sights to see including the large and bright vermilion torii gate which soars 30m, Tama-no-Hashi Bridge which is known as “...

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Business hours
- Everyday
Shrine grounds  5am-6pm
Treasure Hall 9am-4pm

Phone
0256-94-2001
Price
Admission into Treasure Hall
Adults 300 yen
High school/university students 200 yen
Elementary/junior high school students 100 yen

Website
www.e-yahiko.com

Zuigan-ji Temple


A National Treasure temple which Masamune Date devoted himself to building with the air of gorgeous Momoyama culture
The dazzling main hall constructed in Matsushima by the first feudal lord of the Sendai clan, Masamune Date, cannot be missed. At Zuigan-ji Temple, where many Important Cultural Properties including National Treasures are maintained, experience the art of Japan’s Middle Ages.

The family temple of the Date clan with a history going back over 1100 years At the beginning of the Heian Era in the year 828, the priest Jikaku Daishi Ennin founded a temple in Matsushima with the help of 3000 students and monks. Afterwards, with the changes in authority, there came changes in patrons and even denominations as the temple continued to survive, but in the year 1600, the military commander Masamune Date built a castle in Sendai, and with the construction of the town, construction of temples and shrines proceeded. One of those...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 3:30 PM )
Phone
022-354-3218
Price
- Adult: 700 JPY
- Child: 400 JPY

Ninjadera

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Myoryuji, commonly known as Ninjadera, is full of ideas for the protection of feudal lords
Myoryuji is known by the nickname Ninjadera. The tense historical background to this precious building can be felt in the unique traps and mechanisms set for the Shogunate army.

A temple with 23 rooms and 29 staircases Myoryuji is a Nichiren Buddhist temple constructed in 1643 by the third feudal lord of the Kaga Domain, Toshitsune Maeda. As the original temple of good luck, many people came to visit the shrine regardless of social standing or sect, not to mention lords and vassals. The situation was tense for Lord Maeda of the Kaga Domain, who was also the Tozama Daimyo (a Daimyo who followed the House of Tokugawa at the 1600AD Battle of Sekigahara and after), due to constant surveillance from the Tokugawa Shogunate,...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
076-241-0888
Price
- Adult: 800 JPY
- Child: 600 JPY
Website
www.myouryuji.or.jp

Kiyomizu-dera


Kiyomizu-dera – Kyoto’s most popular tourist attraction
Kiyomizu-dera is a Kannon temple where the goddess Kannon is worshipped. Among Kyoto’s temples, Kiyomizu-dera has a particularly long history, and is a registered World Heritage site. It is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist attractions.

Enjoy the National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Kiyomizu-dera Kiyomizu-dera was constructed on Mt. Kiyomizu (Mt. Otowa). The main temple at Kiyomizu-dera, which is also referred to as the “Kiyomizu-dera stage,” was rebuilt by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1633. The main temple building, constructed early in the Edo period, is a National Treasure. It is supported by more than 100 keyaki (Japanese Zelkova) trees and not a single nail is used. Jojuin, in the northern area of the temple grounds, features the Moon Garden, which...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Phone
075-551-1234
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
www.kiyomizudera.or.jp

Sanjusangen-do

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

A museum of Buddhist statues – 1001 life-size statues of Senju Kannon
Sanjusangen-do, which was rebuilt in 1266, has been maintained for more than 700 years while repeatedly undergoing repairs. 1001 statues of Kannon are enshrined in the 120-meter long temple, which is made entirely of Japanese cypress.

1001 statues of the 1000-armed and 1000-bodied Kannon Higashiyama-ku is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a hub of historical buildings, including Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, and Yasakajinja. Even among them, Sanjusangen-do is a popular destination for tourists that was given three stars in the Michelin guide. The sitting statue of Senju Kannon, which is the principal object of worship in Sanjusangen-do, is enshrined in the Buddhist temple. The statue, which is made of wood, is a designated National Treasure. On both s...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-561-0467
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

Kumano Nachi Taisha

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Nachi Taisha – a sacred location in Kumano that overlooks the scenic Nachi Falls
Nachi Taisha is among the red-lacquer temples that glisten among the mountains along the beautiful stone steps of the Kumano Kodo route. Here, close to Nachi Falls, you will experience the impressive nature of Kumano.

Nachi Taisha – a World Heritage site Nachi Taisha is one of the Kumano Sanzan (three sacred shrines), and both the shrine and the grounds are designated World Heritage sites. The shrine, consisting of six buildings at the top of 467 stone steps, is situated in the Nachi mountains at a height of approximately 500m. From the temple grounds, you can see Nachi Falls, which is a designated National Place of Scenic Beauty. The beautiful red-lacquer shrine also features Bird Rock (karasu-ishi), which is said to be the petrified form of Yatagara...

more information

Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0735-55-0321
Price
- Free
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

Kasuga Taisha


Among a red shinden sanctuary to amaze you and the tranquility of a primeval forest, there is a pantheon of gods.
The World Heritage site of Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine) was established to enshrine the local deity at around the time of the transfer of the capital 1300 years ago. The brilliant vermilion shinden in the primeval forest is magnificent and mysterious.

1300 years ago, the wisteria blossoms which make up the crest of the Fujiwara clan which built Kasuga Taisha have a special beauty   Kasuga Shrine which is located inside Nara Park has continued on from ancient times with its brilliant red shinden, its beautiful cloisters and an overwhelming impression to its guests. Its red appearance among the lushly green cedar grove at the bottom of Kasugayama Primeval Forest evokes that mystery of a sacred country of the Far East. The gorgeous main building that has also been registered as a UNESCO Worl...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0742-22-7788
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
The shrine repository and botanical gardens require separate admission
Website
www.kasugataisha.or.jp

Mitaki-dera Temple

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The temple of more than 300 serenely standing stone Buddha statues is located close to downtown Hiroshima
You are enveloped by the deep serenity of stone Buddha on the mountainside becoming one with nature. Known as a famous place for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, an old residence has been refurbished as a popular teahouse with a calm atmosphere.

A temple to enjoy the serenity despite its proximity to downtown By car, it is only a 10-minute drive from the core of the city of Hiroshima. Located in a deep mountain valley, Mitaki-dera Temple is on the side of Mt. Mitaki and has a quiet air about it although it is close to the downtown area. The temple grounds which have a grand view of the city are in the form of a garden, and on the sando path to the temple, there are stone Buddha statues and tanka inscriptions which look out for the worshipers. The 3 waterfalls which flow within the gr...

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Business hours
- Everyday
March-November AM8:00~PM5:30
December-February AM8:00~PM5:00

Phone
082-237-0811
Price
- Free
Website
en.wikipedia.org

Hakone Shrine

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The torii gate standing in the lake is mysterious. Come to Hakone Shrine for that energy charge.
This spiritual spot representing Hakone is popular all-year round. Famous as a marriage shrine, many women come to pray there.

Hakone Shrine Hakone Shrine, with a history of more than 1200 years, was long famous as a shrine for good luck for visiting generals, but now it’s gaining popularity as a power spot. When you enter the 3rd torii gate to get to the main hall, there is the 1200-year old arrow cedar (Yatate-no-sugi) from which you can receive power, and once you go beyond the 4th torii and wash your hands, the route going up the stone steps is good. The 89 stone steps are read as “Yaku” (misfortune), and it is said that going up the steps will a...

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Phone
0460-83-7123
Price
- Free
Website
en.wikipedia.org

Tocho-ji Temple

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Try the trial of luck with the amazing 10.8m-tall Fukuoka Daibutsu (Great Buddha Statue) during the pilgrimage of Hell and Heaven
A temple with many highlights such as the country’s largest wooden seated statue of Buddha, the Rokkaku-do which can only be visited once a month, and the recently-built 5-floor pagoda.

The temple built by Buddhist monk Kukai is Japan’s oldest 10 minutes away from Hakata Station on foot, Tocho-ji was built in 806 by the monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) as the head temple for the Shingon sect in Kyushu. It is also the oldest Shingon temple of the area. It was initially located by the sea, but it was moved to its current location by the leader of the Fukuoka clan, Tadayuki Kuroda, and became the family temple for the Kurodas. The Rokkaku-do, which was built in 1842, is a civic cultural property in which is enshrined a hexagonal...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
092-291-4459
Price
- Free

Engaku-ji Temple

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

A grand Zen temple that has retained its charm from the Kamakura Era. It must be seen for its National Treasures and fall foliage
Even among the Zen temples of the Kamakura Era when the samurai class flourished, Engaku-ji is a historic temple that has been ranked as the second of Kamakura’s Five Mountains. The gently-sloping vista is first-rate and the changing colors in the fall are especially splendid.

The wonderful beauty of the placement of the temple buildings born from the topography   The construction of Engaku-ji began in 1278 during the Kamakura Era which was under the authority of the warrior class. At the time, the most powerful man in the nation, Tokimune Hojo, invited the Chinese monk Sogen Mugaku to establish Engaku-ji. The origins of the temple lay in the desire to spread Zen Buddhism to the world and also to mourn for those who had died protecting the nation during the Mongol invasions. It was here that not only the Japanes...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
0467-22-0478
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
- Child: 100 JPY

Seisui-ji Temple


This ancient temple on a lush green mountain built to resemble Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto was established in the Heian Era
A truly secluded temple. The vermilion Guze-den Hall patterned after Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple has a venerable appearance as it stands tall amid the trees. The sound of the river off in the distance further deepens the tranquility of the temple.

Guze-den Hall resembling Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple was established in consideration for the people of Sado who could not make it as far as Kyoto to worship Seisui-ji Temple which was established in 808 is Sado’s oldest temple of note which has existed since the Heian Era. At the time, Emperor Kammu, who deeply worshiped the Thousand-Armed Kannon which was the principal image enshrined at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, took into consideration the people of Sado who couldn’t make the trip to Kyoto to pray there and started...

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Phone
0259-22-2167
Price
- Free

Natadera Temple

20 Shrines and temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

A sacred place that has existed since before Christ, Natadera is a cave temple which has been called “The Mother’s Womb”
Countless numbers of caves exist on the exposed rock wall. Natadera Temple is infused with a mysterious beauty surrounded by the nature of the mountains with features such as a garden with soaring strangely-shaped rocks and a main hall situated in a cave.

Experience a rebirth beyond the cave at the mysterious temple on the rock wall Natadera Temple which is located in the caves and caverns on a high rock wall has come to be revered as an ancient sacred ground. It is believed that its worship originated from the Jomon Era (14,000 BC-several centuries before the birth of Christ). The cave was believed to be “The Mother’s Womb” in which people entered to wash away their sins and then come out reborn. In the year 717, the Buddhist priest Taicho carved out the image of the Thousan...

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Business hours
- Everyday
Summer 3/1 ~ 11/30 8:30am - 4:45 pm
Winter 12/1 ~ 2/28 8:45am - 4:30 pm

Phone
0761 -65-2111
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Kuri Shoin/Garden
General admission + 200 yen (toddlers and elementary school students are free)

Website
www.natadera.com

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