Tokyo Temples and Shrines

Tokyo has a wealth of religious monuments, which include both temples and shrines. A visit to some of these impressive places of worship is the best way to learn more about Tokyo's rich history and ancient traditions. Temples are places of worship for the followers of Buddhism, while shrines are for the followers of Shinto faith.

Asakusa Shrine (Asakusa Jinja)

Asakusa Shrine was built during the Edo period and is still intact today. The annual festival Sanja Matsuri is one of Tokyo's most popular and spectacular festivals. It is held here in late May and lasts for three days, attracting up to 2 million visitors. Asakusa Shrine is located just south of Senso-ji Temple.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Opening Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Gokuku-ji Temple

Gokuku-ji Temple, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Gokuku-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple in Tokyo's Bunkyo-ku. It was established by the mother of the Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. In 1873, Emperor Meiji declared Gokoku-ji the Imperial mausoleum, and several of his children are buried there, as well as Emperor Meiji himself. It remains the Imperial mausoleum today. Gokoku-ji is also famous as the central temple that oversees the practice of Japanese tea ceremony in all the country's temples.

Address: 5-40-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Gokukuji Station on Yurakucho Subway Line or Shin-Otsuka Station on Marunouchi Subway Line
Telephone: +81 3-3941-0764
Website: (Japanese only)
Admission: Free

Hanazono Shrine (Hanazono-jinja)

Hanazono Shrine (Hanazono-jinja), Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

More remarkable for its location than its appearance, but it's a nice place to take a breather. Hanazono Shrine has long been known as a protector of Shinjuku district since it was established during the Edo Period. The shrine is primarily dedicated to the Yamato-Takeru-no-miko who was a legendary prince during the 4th century. Hanazono Shrine is located near the intersection of Meiji-dori and Yasukuni-dori. There's often a flea market in the surrounding park on weekends.

Address: 5-17-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Shinjuku San-Chome Station on Subway Marunouchi Line
Telephone: +81 3-3209-5265
Website: (Japanese only)

Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple

Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple was completed in 1631 as a miniature copy of the famous Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. This is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo and one of the few buildings left standing after the battle of 1868. The temple houses the protectress of childbearing and child-raising, thereby attracting women hoping to become pregnant and those whose wishes have been fulfilled. Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple is located in Ueno Park.

Address: Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Ueno Station on the JR Line and Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines
Telephone: +81 3-3821-4749
Opening Hours: 07:00 to 17:00 daily
Admission: Free

Meiji-Jingu (Meiji Shrine)

Meiji-Jingu, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Meiji-Jingu, Tokyo's most famous Shinto Shrine, was built in 1920 in commemoration of Emperor Meiji. Most of the major buildings of the shrine were burned down in 1945 due to air raids during World War II, but all were reconstructed in 1958. The buildings are surrounded by a beautiful, dense forest. Meiji Shrine, large in scale but simple in structure, is entered via a winding path and through a giant torii gate. Meiji-Jingu is just a 10 minute walk from Harajuku Station.

Address: 1-1, Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Harajuku Station on Yamanote Line or Meiji Jingu Mae Station on Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line
Telephone: +81 3-3379-5511
Opening Hours: From sunrise to sunset, every day throughout the year
Admission: Free

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa is Tokyo's most revered Buddhist temple, and also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo. Built in the 7th century, it is also one of Tokyo's oldest temples, although the current buildings are postwar reconstructions, since most of the temple was destroyed in the air raids of World War II. Senso-ji is the focus of Tokyo's largest and most popular matsuri (Shinto festival). The festival takes place over 3-4 days in late spring, and sees the surrounding streets closed to traffic from dawn until late evening.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Opening Hours: 06:00 to 17:00 daily (Oct-Mar from 06:30)
Admission: Free

Toshogu Shrine

Toshogu Shrine, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Toshogu Shrine was built in 1651 and dedicated to Ieyasu Tokugawa, who was responsible for making Tokyo the capital and most important city in Japan. The path to the shrine is lined with large stone lanterns donated by feudal lords. It is Ueno Park's most famous religious structure.

Address: 9-88, Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Ueno Station on the JR Line and Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines
Telephone: +81 3-3822-3455

Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple

Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple, sometimes archaically romanized Hongwanji, is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple located in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo, Japan. Tsukiji Honganji's predecessor was the temple of Edo-Asakusa Gobo, built in Asakusa in 1617. The temple burned during a city-wide fire in 1657, and the shogunate refused to allow it to be rebuilt in Asakusa. Instead, the temple was moved to a new parcel of land being reclaimed by the Sumida River - today's Tsukiji. Tsukiji Gobo stood until it was levelled by the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. The present Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple was designed by Chuuta Ito of the University of Tokyo and built between 1931 and 1934. It is noted for its unique architecture, influenced by temples in South Asia. Hongan-ji Temple is a pilgrimage destination due to its artifacts of Prince Shotoku, Shinran Shonin, and Kyonyo Shonin.

Address: 3-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
Telephone: +81 3-3541-1131
Admission: Free

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Yasukuni Shrine is a controversial shrine to Japan's war dead, housing the souls of some 2.5 million people killed in Japan's wars - including convicted war criminals executed by the Allies. The Yasukuni Shrine is located in Tokyo's Chiyoda ward. Yashukuni Shrine has been made more famous by the controversial visits to the Shrine by the former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. These visits have been particularly upsetting to countries attacked or invaded by Japan during World War II. Yasukuni Shrine was founded in 1869 as Tokyo Shokonsha, and was renamed Yasukuni Shrine in 1879.

Address: 3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Kudanshita Station on the Hanzomon, Tozai and Shinjuku Subway Lines
Telephone: +81 3-3261-8326
Opening Hours: 06:00 to 18:00 daily (May-Aug 06:00 to 19:00; Nov-Feb 06:00 to 17:00)
Admission: Free

Zojoji Temple

Zojoji Temple, Tokyo Temples and Shrines, Japan

Zojoji Temple (Sanroku-zan Zojoji) is a Buddhist temple in the Shiba neighbourhood of Minato-ku in Tokyo, Japan and almost next to Tokyo Tower. It is the Great Main Temple of the Chinzai sect of Shingon. The main image is of Amida Buddha. Shuei, a disciple of Kukai, founded a temple named Komyoji at Kaizuka (present-day Kojimachi in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo); it is said to be the forerunner of Zojoji Temple. Centuries later, in 1393 during the Muromachi period, at the time of Yuyo Shoso, the temple converted from the Shingon to the Jodo sect. Shoso is thus the founder of the present-day temple.

Address: 4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Daimon Station on the Toei Asakusa and Oedo Subway Lines
Telephone: +81 3-3432-1431
Admission: Free