Tokyo Travel: 6 Historical Shrines to include on your itinerary
Tokyo, Japan’s urban capital is among the most visited cities in the world. Fascinated by all its wonders, thousands of tourists fly to Tokyo to get a glimpse of the city’s fast-paced urban life. But within the busy streets and Tokyo attractions are historical shrines you can visit to experience a part of Japan’s culture and heritage. Here are 6 shrines to include on your Tokyo travel itinerary if you’re spending the holidays in Japan’s capital city!
The Meji Shrine was built in 1920 at the time of Emperor Meji when Japan became a modern state. It is one of the serene Tokyo attractions and has a 12-metre high torii gate made with 1,500-year-old cypress. And because visiting shrines is one of the things to do in Tokyo, make sure to get the full local experience! When you arrive inside, purify both your hands and mouth by dipping it at the cleansing station, write wishes and tie them up at the prayer wall or offer some yen by tossing it to the offering box then bow your head, clap your hands twice and bow once again.
Every Sunday morning, you can expect to see a traditional wedding reception where the bride would wear the white kimono while the groom wears the formal black robe.
Located alongside the Kanda River you’ll find the Yanagimori Shrine in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward. It was founded in 1457 by Ota Dokan, a warlord who built and designed the Edo Castle where the Imperial Palace Tokyo is now located. Its nickname is O-Tanuki-sama where Tanuki is a Japanese racoon dog. In a Japanese folklore, the tanuki is a supernatural being with the ability to shape-shift. It has a large, bulging scrotum where most people associate it with a sack of gold. Step inside and you’ll see several statues of tanuki with bulging scrotum and belly.
Near the shores of Lake Ashi and right at the foot of Mount Hakone is where you’ll find the beautiful Hakone Shrine, one of the places to visit in Tokyo. It’s situated in the dense forest but it’s greatly advertised thanks to the huge Tori gates located in the lake and at Moto-Hakone main street.
Located within a short distance from Ochanomizu Station and Akihabara, Kanda Shrine formally known as Kanda Jinja is a historic Shinto Shrine in Tokyo. Here you can find large statues of Daikoku and Ebisu – both Shinto favourites, as well as Taira-no-Masakado. Many locals and tourists come here to pray for a happy marriage, good health and success in business.
Set within the lush greenery with pathways of small shrine arches, elegant Japanese wooden structures is Nezu Shrine – one of the country’s oldest shrines and among the most attractive ones in the city. For a more beautiful sight, schedule your Tokyo travel adventure in April and witness spring’s beauty when you see thousands of pink and white azalea bushes.
Last featured attraction for our Tokyo travel guide is Japan’s most controversial shrine – the Yasukuni Shrine which was founded in 1869. It became the country’s most controversial shrine after General Hideki Tojo – Japan’s wartime leader and 13 other Class-A war criminals were enshrined under secretive circumstances in 1979. Walking through the entrance of this Tokyo attraction, you’ll be welcomed by a 22-metre metal Daichi Torii (First Shrine Gate) and a stunning sight of cherry and ginkgo trees.
When are you looking to go on a Tokyo travel adventure? Are you planning to visit other Japan destinations aside from Tokyo? If yes, you may take a look at our Japan travel guide and see where you can book your stay when you fly to Kyoto!
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