Not only are Tokyo's shrines and temples where you can experience firsthand the graceful atmosphere of "wa" (harmony and peace), but a great deal of interesting history remains there for you to discover! Here we introduce 10 temples you should visit when coming to Tokyo.
Built in the year 628, Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo, standing in Asakusa, where a strong sense of the good old, traditional downtown district remains. It is a great spot where you can enjoy Edo culture through events, such as summer festivals, and the Battledore Fair. Along the street that continues straight from Kaminarimon Gate, the symbol of Asakusa, lies a row of restaurants and souvenir shops, making it enjoyable to browse as you walk.
Zojo-ji is the temple that contains the graves of the shogun (generals) who controlled Japan from 1603 onward for 265 years. Inside the large premises adjacent to Tokyo Tower, six shogun, their legal wives, and concubines are buried. The graves of the shogun family and the treasure exhibition rooms require a fee to enter. The blue, bronze gate decorated with dragons at the entrance to the graves is a former national treasure that is really worth seeing.
The temple was made in 1625 as a place for the Tokugawa shogun family to pray, as well as being the site of the graves of six Tokugawa family shogun. Nearly the entirety of Ueno Park used to be Kan'ei-ji, and remnants such as the Ueno Buddha statue, and Kannon-do temple are scattered about the area today.
1-14-11, Uenosakuragi, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0002
Ueno Station （Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line）
8 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3821-4440
- Address 1-14-11, Uenosakuragi, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0002
4. Tsukiji Hongan-ji
Tsukiji Hongan-ji, which stands near the Tsukiji Market, is made from truly rare stone from an ancient Indian-style stone maker. The style inside differs greatly from the outside appearance, and upon entering, you will find a Japanese family Buddhist altar room. There is also a pipe organ, as well as stained glass, which let you experience a rather one-of-a-kind environment.
5. Higashi Hongan-ji
Higashi Hongan-ji, a temple in Asakusa that was built in 1591, is also called Asakusa Hongan-ji. The previous main hall of the temple appeared in the ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock print) of the "Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji" by Katsushika Hokusai. The current building was reconstructed in 1939, and many people who want to pay a visit in silence, away from the bustle of the city, come here.
6. Shibamata Taishakuten
This temple was built in 1629. The decorations sculpted on the outside wall of the Teishaku-do, on the temple grounds, make for an incredible sight. The Buddhist teachings were engraved by artisans over a period of 13 years. The road to the shrine retains the atmosphere of a traditional shopping district, and has also been featured in many movies and TV dramas.
Taishakuten柴又帝釈天 (経栄山 題経寺)
- Address 7-10-3, Shibamata, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, 125-0052
So you probably have heard of - if not seen a movie called - the 47 Ronin. They actually existed. And this is the temple wherein lies the graves of the 47 samurai who avenged their master's murderer with the spirit of bushido (the code of samurai), as well as the grave of that very same master. On the temple grounds, there is a museum that exhibits the items which relate to the 47 Ronin. On December 14th, the day the samurai took their revenge, an event called Gishi-sai occurs, where people dressed as the samurai reproduce the scene of visiting the grave of their master.
Homyo-ji, about a 15 minute walk away from the JR Ikebukuro station, is known as a famous cherry blossom site. The Kishimojin-do, about 200 meters away from the main temple, enshrines the Kishimojin, the goddess of child rearing and as such, many visitors to this shrine come with their children. The oldest "dagashiya" (a traditional, cheap candy store), which opened on the grounds of Kishimojin-do over 200 years ago, is also a highly recommended spot for visitors.
3-15-20, Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 171-0032
Ikebukuro Station （JR Shonan Shinjuku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Saikyo Line / Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line / Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line / Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line / Seibu Ikebukuro Line / Tobu Tojo Line）
10 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3982-8347
- Address 3-15-20, Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 171-0032
9. Inari Tokyo Betsuin
This is known as the temple which answers the prayers of those who wish for success in life, luck in fortune, artistic accomplishment, and prosperity in business, so many entertainers and athletes visit to pray. On the premises, there is a statue of a fox embracing a child called the Ko-daki Kitsune, and stroking this statue is said to bless you with children.
Tennoji is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo. On the grounds, you can see a Buddha statue over three meters tall that was made more than 300 years ago. The road to the temple of Tennoji is called Sakura-dori (literally "the path of cherry blossom trees"), a famous site where the cherry blossoms line the path like a tunnel.
7-14-8, Yanaka, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0001
Nippori Station （JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Nippori-Toneri Liner / Keisei Main Line / Narita SKY ACCESS Line）
2 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3821-4474
- Address 7-14-8, Yanaka, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0001
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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