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5 Shrines in Tokyo Where Japanese Tradition Appeals to Your Spirit

5 Shrines in Tokyo Where Japanese Tradition Appeals to Your Spirit

Translated by Collin Radford

Written by MATCHA

Tokyo 2016.01.29 Bookmark

An introduction to Kanda Myojin, Meiji Jingu, Yushima Tenjin, Nezu Shrine, Ueno Toshogu Shrine and each of their characteristics.

Shrines are buildings of worship in the ancient Japanese religion of Shintō. With an atmosphere slightly different from that of Buddhist temples, they inspire a feeling of sacredness. If you are sightseeing in Tokyo, we have a list of 5 recommended shrines for you to check out.

Kanda Myōjin 神田明神

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This shrine has a 1300 year history. It was created in the Edo Period, and was venerated by everyone from the Shōgun to the common people. Even now, the deity enshrined here is revered as the guardian of familial harmony and a facilitator of romantic relationships (enmusubi), as well as a bringer of prosperity in business and in new enterprises.

kanda_jinja_IT_20151209

Because of its proximity to Akihabara, it is known for being the only place where you can get IT charms in Tokyo. You stick them on you computers and smartphones to ward off trouble. The Kanda Festival, one of Edo's two great festivals, is held in May. With vibrant colors and a beautiful gate, it is a shrine built luxuriously.

Meiji Jingū 明治神宮

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From Meiji Jingū: Harajuku’s Stunning Shrine

The great-grandfather of the current emperor, Emperor Meiji, and his wife are enshrined here. The grounds are wide and lush with vegetation; you will forget that you are in the city. Its stalwart torii (the gate at the entrance of a shrine) is the largest made of wood in the country, so it is surely worth seeing.

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From Meiji Jingū: Harajuku’s Stunning Shrine

Amidst the atmosphere of quiet sacrality, you may come across a Japanese wedding ceremony. At New Year's, over 3,000,000 people visit here for their hatsumode, making it the most popular destination for the first shrine visit in the new year.

Yushima Tenjin 湯島天神 (Yushima Tenmangū 湯島天満宮)

From A Visit To Yushima Tenjin, The Shrine Of Scholars

Due to its reputation as a shrine housing the god of learning, it is always busy with students and their mothers praying to pass tests and improved grades, as well as with businessmen praying for successful business presentations.

From A Visit To Yushima Tenjin, The Shrine Of Scholars

The copper torii is said to be among the oldest still standing, and the main hall is an extremely rare example of a structure made entirely out of Japanese cypress; it is well worth the visit. The plum orchard of this shrine is also famous and there is a plum festival held here from February to the beginning of March.

Nezu Shrine 根津神社

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Photo By tailstream

The grounds of the shrine (called keidai 境内), rich with water and verdure, and the elegant hall decorated through traditional Japanese lacquer techniques, make Nezu Shrine another must-visit. It is said to be a near miracle that all of the original buildings have remained unchanged since the Edo Period. It also has a deep relationship with Japanese literature, and was frequently visited by famous Japanese novelists such as Sōseki Natsume, whose picture adorns the 1000 yen bill. This shrine is mentioned in many novels.

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Photo By notani

There is a pond on the shrine grounds, on which you can set out in a stage-boat and view the famous otome inari (乙女稲荷: the place where the goddess of agriculture and business is enshrined). On both sides there are torii (which are also said to be the gateways between the human world and that of the gods), making this spot popular for its authentic Japanese scenery.

It also has a famous azalea garden, where an azalea festival is held from mid-April to early May. This festival is heralded by the blooming of 3000 azalea plants of 100 various types.

Ueno Tōshōgū 上野東照宮

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From Tokugawa Ieyasu is worshiped as a god at “Ueno Tōshōgu Shrine”

This shrine is dedicated to Ieyasu Tokugawa, the man who created the Shogunate at the beginning of the 17th century. (Shogunate: a government in which the top military commander has control over state affairs.) The gilded opulence of the golden shrine seems to symbolize Tokugawa's power. It is also a great spot to enjoy viewing peonies. From January to February you can admire winter peonies, April is the season of the Asian bleeding-heart, and in May you can enjoy the common garden peony. In winter (from January 1st to mid-February) and spring (from mid-April to early May) peony festivals are organized here.

Information

Kanda Myōjin
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 2-16-2
Hours: 24 hours a day
Closed: Open 365 days a year
Wi-Fi: -
Credit Cards: -
Languages: -
Menus available in: -
Station: Ochanomizu Station (御茶ノ水駅) of the JR Chuō Line/Sōbu Line
Access:[JR]
5 minutes from the Ochanomizu Station (Hijiribashi exit) of the Chuō Line/Sōbu Line
7 minutes from the Akihabara Station (Electric Town exit) Tōhōku Keihin/Yamanote Line
[Subway]
5 Minutes from the Ochanomizu Station (Hijiribashi exit) of the Marunouchi Line
5 minutes from the Ochanomizu Station (Hijiribashi exit) of the Chiyoda Line
5 minutes from the Suehirochō Station of the Ginza Line
7 minutes from the Akihabara Station of the Hibiya Line
Price: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone Number: +81-3-3254-0753
Official Website: Kanda Myōjin (Japanese)

Meiji Jingu
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi Kamizonochō 1-1
Hours: opens at dawn every morning except on 12/31, and closes at sunset every night. Every month the times differ; for example, it would be from 5:00-18:30 in June, and from 6:40-16:00 in December.
Closed: Open 365 days a year
Wi-Fi: -
Credit Cards: -
Languages: -
Menus available in: -
Station: the Harajuku (原宿駅) Station of the JR Yamanote Line, or the Meiji Jingū Station (明治神宮駅) of the Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line)
Access: 2 minutes from the Omotesandō exit of the Harajuku Station
Price: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone Number: +81-3-3379-5511
Official Website: Meiji Jingū

Yushima Tenjin
Address: Tokyo-to, Bunkyo-ku, Yushima 3-30-1
Hours: 6:00-20:00
Closed: Open 365 days a year
Wi-Fi: -
Credit Cards: -
Languages: -
Menus available in: -
Station: the Yushima Station (湯島駅) of the Chiyoda Line
Access: 2 minutes from the Yushima Station (exit number 3) of the Chiyoda Line
5 minutes from the Ueno Okachimachi Station (A4 exit) of the Oedo Line
5 minutes from the Ueno Hirokōji Station (exit A4) of the Ginza Line
8 minutes from the Okachimachi Station (north exit) of the Yamanote Line
9 minutes from the Hongo 3-chōme Station of the Marunouchi Line
Price: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone Number: +81-3-3836-0753
Official Website: Yushima Tenjin

Nezu Shrine
Address: Tokyo-to, Bunkyō-ku, Nezu 1-28-9
Worship Hours: 24 hours a day
Holidays: Open 365 days a year
Wi-Fi: -
Credit Cards: -
Languages: -
Menus available in: -
Station: the Nezu Station (根津駅), or the Sendagi Station (千駄木駅) of the Chiyoda Line
Access: 5 minutes from both the Nezu and Sendagi Stations of the Chiyoda Line
5 minutes from Tōdaimae Station of the Nanboku Line
10 minutes from Hakusan Station of the Mita Line
Price: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone Number: +81-3-3822-0753
Official Website: Nezu Shrine (Japanese)

Ueno Tōshōgu
Address: Tokyo-to, Taitō-ku, Ueno Park 9-88
Hours: 9:00-16:30
Closed: Open 365 days a year
Wi-Fi: -
Credit Cards: -
Languages: -
Menus available in: English signs/pamphlets available
Station: the Ueno Station (上野駅) of the JR, Keisei, and Tokyo Metro Lines
Access: 5 minutes from the Ueno Station of the JR, Keisei, and Tokyo Metro Lines
Price: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone Number: +81-3-3822-3455
Official Website: Ueno Tōshōgu (Japanese)

TOKYO Travel Guide

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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