26 Oct 2016

Japan has one of the richest histories in the world. As a result of Japan's shinto and buddhist culture, temples are an integral part of Japan's landscape. When visiting Japan, a stop at some of the most beautiful temples or shrines that this country has to offer is certainly high up on most travelers lists. This list includes temples from all over Japan not just Kyoto, so no matter where you are going to in Japan, why not visit one of the stunning locations.

1. Kinkakuji

Top 40 Most Beautiful 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

2. Todaiji

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Daibutsu is the highlight of this exemplary ancient-Nara temple, which has fascinated people for time immemorial.
People have always loved Todaiji, which was completed in the year 752 and continues to be a religious place down to this day. The essential sights include the buildings that were rebuilt after being destroyed in fires caused by wars, Daibutsu (the great Buddha), masterpieces from the geniuses Unkei and Kaikei, and the statues of the guardian deities.

Todaiji is a provincial temple established by the state to implore the gods for peace and to prevent accidents and disasters Todaiji is a cultural property in Nara that is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to countless works of art and structures that are designated National Treasures, and is full of objects of extremely significant cultural value. Here, you will experience the dynamic atmosphere of a history spanning the ages in such objects as the main temple building, which houses Japan’s largest temple, and Daibuts...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
0742-22-5511
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.todaiji.or.jp

3. Kiyomizu-dera

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

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

4. Fushimi Inari Shrine

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

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

5. Sanjusangen-do

Top 40 Most Beautiful 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

6. Meiji Jingu Shrine

Top 40 Most Beautiful 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

7. Ginkakuji (Higashiyama Jisho-ji)

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Ginkakuji, or “Temple of the Silver Pavilion,” is representative of the Higashiyama Culture, which saw the blossoming traditional Japanese culture
Built in 1490, during Japan’s Muromachi shogunate, by Yoshimune Ashikaga, the Eighth shogun, who prospered in the Muromachi period, Ginkakuji is a structure in which the first floor section is built in a domestic style, and the second floor section is built in the style of a Buddhist temple.

The Appeal of the Ginkakuji Beyond the main gate of Ginkakuji, proceeding further inside is the Kannon-den, also called the Silver Pavilion. This has been designated a national treasure; the Silver Pavilion is also a building that preserves the hallmarks of the culture of the Muromachi Period. It is said that the Muromachi period, in which Ginkakuji was built, was an age that blended the aristocratic culture of samurai warriors, monks and court nobles.Much of the well-known Japanese traditional culture that came to be cherished by many people...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-771-5725
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

8. Daigo-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The final dream of Hideyoshi, viewings of cherry blossoms and fall foliage at Daigo-ji
Daigo-ji Temple was reconstructed so that Hideyoshi Toyotomi could hold the most gorgeous cherry blossom-viewing parties there. In spring, 1000 cherry trees blossom and the fall foliage that Hideyoshi couldn’t see is also breathtaking in its beauty.

Devastated by fire and war only to be rebuilt by Hideyoshi Toyotomi In 874, Shobo, a disciple of a disciple of the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kukai, inherited Kami-Daigo, a top of a mountain where the sacred Daigo spring water originated, and the temple began with the enshrinement of a Kannon statue. The Emperor at the time, Daigo, erected Shaka-do, Yakushi-do and Godai-do Halls and later on, Emperor Murakami had a five-storey pagoda built, so the temple has a deep relationship with the Imperial Family. Even with devastation by fire and war...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-571-0002
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 0 JPY
Website
www.daigoji.or.jp

9. Ryōan-ji

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Relax in the famous Ryōan-ji Rock Garden
Hosokawa Katsumoto established Ryōan-ji in 1450 during the Muromachi period, when Zen sects flourished. Without using water, karesansui, or dry landscape, gardens represent water using stones and sand, and “Ryōan-ji’s Rock Garden” is famous for this.The garden is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Enjoying the Rock Garden at Ryōan-ji The Rock Garden at Ryōan-ji is listed as both A National Site of Special Scenic Beauty and a National Historic Site.As a karesansui, or dry landscape, garden, sand is used to represent the sea, its waves represented by lines drawn in the sand using a rake. The stones are said to represent mountains and islands.Additionally, the Rock Garden’s meanings are interpreted variously as a “Garden of Tiger Cubs Crossing,” or as the shape of the Chinese character for “heart” or “mi...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-463-2216
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.ryoanji.jp

10. Sensoji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful 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

11. Toshogu Shrine

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

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

12. Ninna-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Ninna-ji is recommended for the beautiful late-blooming cherry blossom season
The temple was built in 888 by Emperor Uda. An example of Heian Era palatial architecture that served as a residence for the nobles of that time, Ninna-ji was recognized as a National Treasure and has also been registered as a World Heritage site, famous for its cherry blossoms.

Enjoy the National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Ninna-ji Temple There are many National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties inside Ninna-ji. The Golden Hall that retains the notable atmosphere of a palace has been recognized as a National Treasure for its Heian Era style as it served as a residence for the Heian nobility. The Goei-do Hall which was constructed in the Momoyama style is an Important Cultural Property as is the temple’s five-storied pagoda, which, unlike other similar pagodas whose roofs usually g...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-461-4070
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.ninnaji.or.jp

13. Itsukushima Shrine

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Itsukushima Shrine and Seto Inland Sea – A gorgeous view of a shrine “floating” in the sea
The island of Itsukushima (also called Miyajima) is known as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. Itsukushima shrine, an invaluable site, is a visual representation of the form of the ancient Japanese Shinto worship. The gorgeous shrine and grand torii gate “floating” in the sea are spectacular.

A view drastically changed by the tides Itsukushima shrine is constructed in the architectural style of the Heian period (794 – 1185); it is a unique building which likens the Seto Inland Sea to a pond. This grandeur, red lacquer-coated shrine blends natural and man-made beauty in perfect harmony; the view completely changes during high tide when the shrine and corridors appear as though they are floating in the sea. The entire island is considered as a holy object in which a deity resides; in the front of the holy island is Seto Inland...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0829-44-2020
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
- Child: 100 JPY
Website
visit-miyajima-japan.com

14. Horyuji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Immerse yourself in the historical wonders of Horyuji, the first Japanese temple listed as a World Heritage site
For over 1,400 years, the beauty of Horyuji has continued to fascinate its visitors. Immerse yourself in the mysterious legends and intriguing historical facts of Japan’s oldest wooden temple.

A variety of buildings built with the cutting-edge technology of the time The area with a group of buildings including Japan’s oldest wooden structure is collectively called Horyuji. Recognized for its exceptional historical and cultural value, Horyuji is Japan’s first World Heritage site. On the 187,000 square meters premises of Horyuji stands the Saiin Garan (the Western Precinct) built in the Asuka Period (7th century) and an array of buildings built in subsequent years with the cutting-edge technology of the time they were con...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
0745-75-2555
Price
- Adult: 1500 JPY
- Child: 750 JPY
Website
www.horyuji.or.jp

15. Toji (Kyo-o-gokokuji)

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

A temple with great history marked by its five-story pagoda, the landmark of the ancient Kyoto
Roughly about a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station. Surrounded by modern buildings of the city center, Toji exudes an atmosphere as though time stopped flowing at some point. Established 1,200 years ago, it is the first Esoteric Buddhist temple in Japan. Experience the unusual and distinctive world views expressed at this temple

Forever the landmark of Kyoto It is believed that Toji was built when Emperor Kanmu relocated to the ancient capital (the present day Kyoto, then called Heiankyo) in 794. It was later given to a monk named Kukai, who had returned to Japan after studying new Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism in China, by the subsequently enthroned Emperor Saga. This is how Japan’s first Esoteric Buddhist temple came into existence. Since its establishment, it has continued to prosper as the headquarters of Esoteric Buddhist practices in Japan and still exis...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-691-3325
Price
- Free
Website
www.toji.or.jp

16. Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Narita-san and its sando path, the only remnants of the old streets from the Edo Era
This temple boasts the second largest number of visitors in Japan on New Years Day, and also has buildings that have been designated National Cultural Properties. Easy to access from Narita airport, it's a place you can feel the Japanese atmosphere without having to travel into the city.

Strolling along the path to Narita-san Taking 10 minutes from Narita Airport by JR, you can reach JR Narita Station. The way from the station to Narita-san is called the Narita-san Sando (the path to Narita-san). The area around the temple once flourished with ryokan, and for that reason, there were many dining establishments to relax weary travelers. When walking along Narita-san Sando, you may notice a lot of signboards for eel which come from memories of hoping for travelers to work hard. On this path towards Narita-san which still retains...

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Business hours
- Everyday
Phone
0476-22-2210
Price
- Free
Website
www.naritasan.or.jp

17. Great Buddha(Kotoku-in)

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The Great Buddha: the best sightseeing spot in Kamakura
Kamakura is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, nestled in between the mountains and the ocean and considerably abundant with nature. The Great Buddha of the Kotoku-in Temple has been designated as a National Treasure.

The City of Kamakura Kamakura is famous as a summer spot where many people enjoy surfing and marine sports along the coast. With its many historical temples and shrines, it’s a place that has an abundance of nature including the hydrangeas during the rainy season. The local Enoshima Railway linking many of the tourist spots is also popular. Kamakura is one of the recommended tourist spots where you can spend a leisurely time. Also, Kamakura is the site where the Kamakura shogunate was positioned. It is a place that had an enormously impo...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0467-22-0703
Price
- Adult: 200 JPY
- Child: 150 JPY
Website
www.kotoku-in.jp

18. Hasedera Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Hasedera Temple is home to Japan’s largest wooden-statue of Kannon Bosatsu (Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) and popular amongst visitors for its beautiful outdoor garden.
Hasedera Temple was constructed on the mountainside with views of both the ocean and city. The beautiful garden is blooming with hydrangeas and irises all year round and as such, the temple has also become acclaimed as the ‘flower temple’.

Hasadera Temple If you set aside time to visit Kamakura during your trip to Japan, Hasedera Temple is one of the spots that must be visited during your time in Kamakura city. The wooden carving of the Kannon Bosatsu in the main hall, also known as the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, towers at a colossal height of 9.8 meters and is the largest of its kind domestically. The eleven-faced wooden seated statue of the Kannon Bosatsu has been designated as an important cultural property in Japan. In addition to the significant cultural properties present...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
0467-22-6300
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
- Child: 100 JPY
Website
www.hasedera.jp

19. Chokoku-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

There are 30 kinds of Buddhist experiences. This is a temple filled with entertainment!
Reincarnation?! At this ancient and honorable temple, you can undergo intense Buddhist experiences! You will feel calm in your heart through these experiences coming from a chief priest filled with ideas

Experiential courses of every kind and a tour by the chief priest himself within this historical temple A famous temple of more than 1200 years of history. A flower temple overflowing with blossoms throughout the four seasons. A treasure house of Important Cultural Properties from the Heian Era. They all describe the true Chokoku-ji Temple. However, the most distinguishing feature of this temple is the menu of overwhelming Buddhist experiences. The more than 30 kinds of experiences come from the many ideas of a gentlehearted chief priest. This...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
The experiential courses are held at 1pm-2pm
For preferred times outside this time, please inquire directly

Phone
0259-66-2052
Price
- Free
The experiential courses require admission to pay for materials
Website
www.visitsado.com

20. Tenryu-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Tenryu-ji Temple, a World Heritage site with the spectacular Unryu-zu (image of the cloud dragon) and a garden from 700 years ago
Tenryu-ji Temple once contained all of the Arashiyama area. It has a garden whose view hasn’t changed in 700 years and an ink painting 9 meters in diameter titled “Unryu-zu” that is a splendid World Heritage asset.

The beauty of a Japanese painting Founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge and Kameyama Park among other places were within the temple grounds. Burned down by fire 8 times, the buildings were mostly re-built in around 1900. However, the Sogenchi Pond Garden has retained its original form from 700 years ago, and was given Japan’s first designation as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. In 1994, it was registered as a World Cultural Property as a Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto. For the...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-881-1235
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.tenryuji.com

21. Zojo-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

You will want to visit the final resting place of the Tokugawas along with Tokyo Tower
Zojo-ji is also famous as a Tokyo photo spot. It’s inseparable from Tokyo Tower as a place for tourists.

Temple of the Tokugawa family At Zojo-ji Temple, there are several opportunities a year to view the gravesite of the Tokugawa family and the shoguns of the Edo Era. Along with 6 shoguns, 38 wives and children are also buried there. There are rare items such as books of seal stamps containing the family tree and family crest of the Tokugawas. During these times, not only can you pay a visit to the gravesite but you will also be able to visit the Black Image of the Amida Buddha. The entrance to the temple has a main gate known as Sangedatsumon....

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
03-3432-1431
Price
- Free
Website
www.zojoji.or.jp

22. Eikan-do

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Eikan-do, where you can refresh your soul from the beautiful autumn leaves and the Mikaeri Amida
With the temple grounds colored by the autumn leaves, there is a wonderful harmony among the beautiful architecture, the pond and the garden, and so an elegant scene arises. Beautiful autumn leaves striving to be the best even in Kyoto can be seen.

When thinking of Eikan-do, the beauty of the autumn leaves comes to mind In 853, Shinjo, the student of the monk Kukai, established the temple. The official name is Zenrin-ji, but due to the deeds of helping out the disadvantaged by the 7th head monk Yokan, it started to be called Eikan-do. Since long ago, fall foliage that strives to become the best in Kyoto can be seen here to the extent that people say “Autumn means the maples in Eikan-do”. Passing through the main gate, the path lined with autumn trees continues on, and there i...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-761-0007
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 400 JPY
Website
www.eikando.or.jp

23. Tofuku-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Tofuku-ji Temple whose buildings have been designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties
The temple has plenty of highlights including 25 sub-temples and a rock garden. It is also famous as a place to see the fall colors. The colors are especially beautiful at Tsutenkyo Bridge linking the main hall with Kaisan-do Hall.

Tofuku-ji, Kyoto’s leading group of temple buildings There are 5 famous temples in Kyoto which have been ranked as the Kyoto Gozan or the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto, of which one is Tofuku-ji Temple. As well, the buildings of the temple show characteristics that belie its status as a Rinzai sect temple. The 22-meter high sanmon gate has been designated as a National Treasure and is known as the oldest sanmon gate in Japan. Also, Tokufu-ji has the oldest zen meditation hall in the nation. Furthermore, Tsutenkyo Bridge which makes us...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-533-0621
Price
- Free
Tsutenkyo Bridge
adults 400 yen/children 300 yen
Garden
adults 400 yen/children 300 yen

Website
www.tofukuji.jp

24. Shitenno-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Japan’s oldest temple, Shitenno-ji, built by Prince Shotoku
Shitenno-ji is Japan’s oldest temple which was established by Prince Shotoku in his bid to create a new nation centered on the Emperor. It was erected to provide salvation for the world.

A temple built for salvation of the masses This was Japan’s first genuine Buddhist temple, built in 593, by Prince Shotoku to honor four heavenly kings. The central gate, the five-storied pagoda, the Kon-do main hall and the Kodo lecture hall are arranged in a line facing from south to north, all surrounded by a corridor, a precious architectural form seen in China and the Korean peninsula from the 6th to 7th centuries as the prevalent style in Asia brought to these times. As the site to put the fundamental principles of Buddhism into p...

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Business hours
- Everyday
Phone
06-6771-0066
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

25. Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The main shrine of all Sumiyoshi shrines, beloved by Osakans for the Taiko-bashi Bridge and the Hattatsu-san Festival
The distinctive architectural style of Sumiyosh-taisha Shrine is unusual, beloved for the arched Taiko-bashi Bridge and the Hattatsu Mairi for business prosperity, and 2 million people come annually for the first visit to the shrine in the New Year (hatsumode).

A shrine with its own original culture Sumiyoshi-taisha is the main shrine for the nation’s 2300 Sumiyoshi shrines, boasting a history of 1800 years. The honden main hall is separated into four structures with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd main shrines built in a row, and the 4th built across from the 3rd, a highly unusual configuration. Called the sumiyoshi-zukuri style, the shrine’s buildings have been declared a National Treasure, and the special form is the oldest of its type in the history of shrine architecture. The Kakutorii stone...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
06-6672-0753
Price
- Free
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

26. Byodoin Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Heaven on earth – A World Heritage site, Byodoin Temple
Byodoin Temple embodies the heaven envisioned by an aristocrat of the Heian period. A valuable building that attests to the prosperity of the Fujiwara clan. The temple’s Phoenix Hall has been recovered in a brilliant state following the recent completion of its restoration work.

Aristocrat’s second house turned into a temple Byodoin temple was established in 1052 when an aristocrat named Yorimichi Fujiwara decided to turn his second house into a temple. The temple building and the Buddha statues created nearly 1,000 years ago have been collectively listed as a World Heritage site. Adding to its glory, the temple’s Phoenix Hall is featured on the Japanese 10 yen coin. The Phoenix Hall recently underwent nearly 2 years of restoration work including a roof replacement and re-coating of its exterior layer; th...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
0774-21-2861
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.byodoin.or.jp

s and shrines have become an important part of Japan's landscape. Area's such as Kyoto and Nara, which served previously as the capital of Japan, are areas rich in temples. 

 

27. Kodai-ji

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Kodai-ji with a beautiful garden interweaving with the natural scenery during the four seasons of Higashiyama
Kodai-ji was established by the widow of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Nene. There is a splendid Japanese garden taking advantage of the natural scenery of Higashiyama that has not changed in 400 years. It reflects the rich pageantry of the Momoyama Era.

The wonderful autumn foliage is reflected like a mirror in the pond Following the passing of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, his widow, Nene, under her title of Kita-no-Mandokoro, established the temple in 1606 to hold his memorial service, so it is also known as Nene’s temple. The person who took over authority after Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa, also provided great financial assistance after political consideration, and the temple took on an exceedingly magnificent appearance. The two ponds that center the garden, Garyo-chi and Engetsu...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-561-9966
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
Website
www.kodaiji.com

28. Shoren-in

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Shoren-in, associated with the Emperor. Its pond garden and fusuma (sliding doors) paintings are exquisite
Shoren-in was also used as a temporary Imperial Palace. The pond garden which can be viewed from the Kacho-den guesthouse has a beauty to warm the heart.

Lighting up of the bamboo forest and the garden in blue to signify the blue image of the Buddhist god of fire (Blue Cetaka) Shoren-in was built 850 years ago as a temple of the Tendai sect. In the Edo Era, the Imperial Palace had burned down and so the temple became the temporary palace, with many men in the Imperial family becoming chief priests so it became a temple with deepening connections with the Emperor. It has been said that the monk Shinran Shonin planted the now-800-year-old camphor trees which have become Natural Monuments in fron...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-561-2345
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
www.shorenin.com

29. Yakushi-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

A must-see temple during a trip to Nara that has been designated as a cultural property of the ancient capital
The famous Yakushi-ji Temple, which is one of the religious landmarks symbolizing Nara alongside Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji, possesses many valuable historical heritage items such as Buddha statues, paintings and buildings.

A temple with an overwhelming presence for a World Heritage site Yakushi-ji is one of the many temples to be found in the city of Nara in Nara Prefecture. In the prefecture, there are numerous famous temples and shrines all over such as Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Kasuga Taisha, Toshodai-ji, Horyu-ji and Gango-ji. Including these temples and shrines, Yakushi-ji was registered as a World Heritage site along with the other buildings under the collective name of Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara in 1998. It was a temple commissioned by the Emperor Ten...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0742-33-6001
Price
- Adult: 1100 JPY
- Child: 700 JPY
Admission differs depending on whether the Genjo Sanzo-in Temple is open to the public or not, so please check the homepage
Website
en.wikipedia.org

30. Sengaku-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The graves of the 47 ronin who pledged their loyalty to their master are here at this temple
There is the tale of Chushingura that has been related by countless numbers of people over the past 300 years. The souls of the feudal lord and his 47 warriors who carried out their vengeance in the name of loyalty and clan pride rest at this temple.

Sengaku-ji’s history and “Chushingura” In the year 1612, the retired shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa established the temple at Soto-Sakurada near Edo Castle, but in 1641, it burned down in The Great Fire of Kansei. Following that, his grandson, Iemitsu, moved to current-day Takanawa and rebuilt it. In the temple grounds, 7 temple buildings were completed, and numerous monks from all over Japan come to study at this distinguished temple. It is also famous for being the burial site for the 47 ronin who died during the Genroku Ako Incide...

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Business hours
- Everyday (7:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
4/1-9/30 7:00am-6:00pm
10/1-3/31 7:00am~17:00pm

Phone
03-3441-5560
Price
- Free
Admission for Ako Gishi Memorial Hall:
Adults 500 yen Children (10 or over) 250 yen

Website
www.sengakuji.or.jp

31. Hokoku-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

A bamboo grove, moss and matcha tea. Spend a day of tranquility surrounded by vivid greenery.
Hokoku-ji is a Zen temple that was established 700 years ago. It has been thoughtfully maintained over a long period of time and the lush and beautiful bamboo grove will take your breath away. Have some matcha tea while viewing the forest during a tea ceremony.

The Bamboo Temple with a beautiful bamboo grove At the end of the 12th century, political rule by the military class took root in Kamakura and lasted until 1333. In the Kanto region at Kamakura, which was the capital city longer than Tokyo, even now retains many historical buildings giving an air of the old capital. In the background of those times, Hokoku-ji is a Zen temple belonging to the Kencho-ji school of the Rinzai sect that was built in 1334, after the demise of the Kamakura shogunate. Also known as the Bamboo Temple, it has attracted...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
0467-22-0762
Price
- Adult: 200 JPY
With matcha tea 500 yen
Website
www.houkokuji.or.jp

32. Sanzen-in Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Time passes slowly in the temple grounds surrounded by flora such as moss and cedars.
This temple is so beloved that whenever Ohara is mentioned, people always think of Sanzen-in. In the beautiful mossy garden, smiling child jizo statues show their faces charming the hearts of visitors.

Sanzen-in’s association with the Imperial family When the monk Saicho built Enryaku-ji Temple in 788, the construction of a thatched hut underneath a huge pear tree in Minamidani at the East Pagoda is said to have been the beginnings of Sanzen-in Temple. Afterwards, it became a temple administered by the family of an Imperial prince which was repeatedly moved from Mt. Hiei to Omi-Sakamoto to Kyoto. In 1871, following the Meiji Restoration, the Ohara Government House was made into the main hall and the temple was given the name of Sanzen-...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-744-2531
Price
- Adult: 700 JPY
- Child: 150 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

33. Okunoin Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Stroll around Okunoin Temple – the sanctuary of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, the place where the souls of samurai warriors rest
Since 200 years ago, the sanctuary Okunoin Temple has been a place of comfort and support not only for the customary pilgrims, but also for samurai warriors. Stretching for 2km, the approach to the temple is located within a mystic grove of Japanese cedar which leaves you with a lasting impression. It is a power spot that cleanses your soul.

Known as a power spot, Okunoin Temple is where the founder of the Shingon sect, Kobo Daishi (the monk Kukai), performed the ultimate ascetic training in which he practiced austerity to the point of death. To get to Okunoin Temple, visitors walk along a 2km approach to the temple from Ichi-no-hashi Bridge to the mausoleum. According to the tradition, Grand Master Kukai comes to this Ichi-no-hashi Bridge to greet you at your arrival and then later to see you off. For this reason, visitors bring their hands together and bow once toward this bridge...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Phone
0736-56-2002
Price
- Free
Website
www.koyasan.or.jp

34. Kongobuji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Experience the teachings of Buddhism through your eyes and heart – Participate in the meditation session at Kongobuji
Kongobuji temple is the headquarters of Mount Koya Shingon Buddhism. This is THE place for experiencing Japanese culture with your five senses – encounter the beauty of Japan by walking through the great variety of rooms, listen to the Buddhist sermons given by monks, and participate in a meditation session.

Try out the Shingon Buddhism breathing method and meditation method At the spacious and gracious, approx. 160,000 square meters premises of the Kongobuji temple, the headquarters of Mount Koya Shingon Buddhism, visitors can leisurely enjoy a variety of rooms and gardens. The area collectively called Kongobuji temple includes the Main Hall, the Head Monk’s Room, the Inner Hall, the Annex, the New Annex, the Drawing Room, the New Drawing Room, the Scripture Storage, the Bell Tower, the Shinzen Hall, the Goma Prayer Hall, the Ajikan Meditat...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0736-56-2011
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
www.koyasan.or.jp

35. Ikuta Shrine

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

An 1800-year-old shrine located right in the center of the commercial area of Sannomiya
The name of Kobe was derived from the original name of Kanbe, the family protecting the Ikuta god, and the shrine is one of the three great shrines of Kobe beloved by its citizens. It is very popular as a shrine for matchmaking.

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Business hours
- Everyday
24 hours a day
Phone
075-254-7414
Price
- Free
Website
www.ikutajinja.or.jp

36. Ise Jingu Geku (Toyouke Daijingu)

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

Starting with the offerings of rice, the shrine has enshrined the tutelary god of industry which has given the people the blessings of food, clothing and shelter
Along with Naiku, Geku is a major shrine for Ise Jingu. Close to Iseshi Station, in this sacred ground surrounded by the green of nature, there are three associate shrines around the Shogu main shrine.

When making the pilgrimage at Ise Jingu, it’s customary to start from Geku   Among all of the shrines in Japan, Ise Jingu is the cream of the crop. Within this grand shrine, there are 2 main shrines: Naiku (Kotaijingu) which enshrines Amaterasu-omikami, the tutelary god for the Japanese people, and Geku (Toyouke Daijingu) which enshrines Toyouke-no-omikami, the tutelary god for the basic necessities of life. In October 2013, the process of building a new shrine and transferring the enshrined object to that site that takes place once ev...

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

37. Sofuku-ji Temple

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

An atmospheric Chinese-style temple of the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism with national treasures
Built with the help of local Chinese merchants in Nagasaki which flourished as a trading port, Soufuku-ji is a Chinese-style temple that has enshrined the god of the sea to ensure safety for sea voyages. It is also a temple where you can feel the rich history of Chinese culture.

A temple built by local Chinese merchants to pray for safety on the sea With Fuzhou-born Chinese residents of Nagasaki in the majority, the Zen monk Chaonian was invited from China to help establish this Obaku sect temple in 1629. Along with Kofuku-ji and Fukusai-ji, Sofuku-ji has been named as one of Nagasaki’s Sanpuku Temples (Three Fuku Temples). A temple that has been deeply imbued with Nagasaki-like Chinese culture, it is said that Sofuku-ji was built by the Chinese during the Edo Era which was notable for its edict on banning Chri...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
095-823-2645
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
- Child: 100 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

38. Daisho-in

Top 40 Most Beautiful Shrines and Temples in Japan

Photo by Planetyze

The oldest historic temple on Miyajima has a deep connection with the Imperial family
A temple that has been greatly worshipped by the Imperial family and successive leaders of the nation. There has als

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