Although Tokyo is the biggest metropolis in the world, it still has tons of traditional Japanese culture for tourists to enjoy! Some of these include the sheer amount of temples and shrines that are dotted throughout Tokyo city. In this post we’re going to be counting down the top shrines and temples located in Tokyo!
In this we’ll feature shrines/temples that not many people know about as well as the must go to ones that are on every tourists list! We’ve included something for everyone in this list! Want to learn more about Japans shrines and temples before visiting? CLICK HERE.
1. Meiji-Jingu, Harajuku (明治神宮)
Starting off the list is Meiji Shrine or Meiji-Jingu (明治神宮) in Japanese. This Shrine is located in Harajuku, Tokyo and was established in the Meiji Era for the emperor at the time. The Meiji Era was symbolic for Japan, especially Tokyo, due to it being a time of major economic development and globalization for Japan. Due to this the shrines location is quite symbolic as it is located right next to Takeshita Street, which is a hub of consumerism in Tokyo.
The placement is also symbolic as it shows the struggle that Japan finds itself in in the modern world. The struggle of trying to preserve traditional culture whilst also competing globally and having one of the worlds largest economies.
The shrine itself is EXTREMELY beautiful and is surrounded by forestry. It’s a very peaceful place which offers a nice escape from the city for a while and allows one to gather their thoughts.
Senso-Ji is located in Asakusa and is a buddhist temple. It is said that in the year 628 a statue of a buddhist god was pulled from the river when two men where fishing. This statue then reportedly visited the men regularly in their sleep and so they eventually built this temple here for the buddhist god.
Nowadays, this temple is extremely popular to visit for both Japanese and non-Japanese people alike! It is also a very common place to dress up in Kimono and walk around, due to the sheer amount of Kimono rental shops in the area!
The shrine itself is very beautiful and is full of things to do! Other than the main temple and gardens, there is also the Kaminarimon (The Main Gate) and also the Nakamise (Row of Shops) that sell Japanese souvenirs, sweets and drinks!
Nezu Shrine is a beautiful shrine located in Tokyo that is very rarely spoken about and is super underrated…one of Tokyo’s hidden gems! Nezu shrine is more popular with the local Japanese people rather than tourists, so it’s a great place to go for those who are looking to escape the crowds but still see a beautiful shrine. The red gates makes it seem like you are at Fushimi Inari-Taisha in Kyoto and will make you forget that you are in the worlds LARGEST metropolis!
Nezu Shrine was built in 1705 and is said to be one of the oldest places of worship in the city. the hundreds of red gates or Torii are what give it it’s uniqueness and makes different to all the other shrines in Tokyo!
Gotokuji is yet again another shrine that is rarely talked about but is super unique and beautiful! It’s famous for its thousands of Maneki-neko (cat statues) that are dotted around the temple. The reason these cat statues are here is because the temple was said to have been built when a man was called there by a cat to take shelter for the night.
Nowadays people go to the shrine and place a cat statue there to show appreciation for their wishes coming true! The act of doing this is something you’ll surely remember and it’s a nice idea to leave something behind in Tokyo before you go. Many people also write their names underneath the statues before they leave them there!
If you’re looking to really escape the crowds and tourists, this is the place for you! This shrine is really one of the lesser known shrines in Tokyo but is just as amazing as the others!
During the Edo period, many people living in Tokyo wanted to pray at the sacred shrine of Ise. Due to this shrine being the shrine dedicated to Amaterasu, who was said to be the most important god in the Shinto religion and is the ‘sun’ god. But due to the shrine being so far, many could not make it. So, in the Meiji Era this shrine was build and dedicated to the same deities that the one in Ise was, so that people could pray to them there.
Otaku in Tokyo is a travel website dedicated to helping your trip to Japan with tips and information on where to visit. With particular focus on real life anime locations, pop culture and Tokyo’s hidden gems!
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