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Tokyo Trip: Most Popular Temples in Tokyo and Surroundings (August 2019 Ranking)

Tokyo Trip: Most Popular Temples in Tokyo and Surroundings (August 2019 Ranking)

Date published: 16 September 2019
Last updated: 18 September 2019

Here are the best Temples in Tokyo and Surroundings, with travel tips and more, according to LIVE JAPAN, a top-class travel website for visitors to Japan. Our ranking is based on the most popular pages viewed by foreign visitors in a given category.

For instance, Senso-ji Temple, Tsukiji Hongwanji, Benten-do and other related spots will be listed. Be sure to check them out during your visit to Tokyo and Surroundings!

1.Senso-ji Temple

1.Senso-ji Temple

After passing the Kaminarimon Gate with the huge paper lantern, the symbol of Asakusa, you can enjoy food hopping and souvenir shopping, there is Nakamise street, which, leads up to the temple grounds. Founded in 628 AD, Senso-ji Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the metropolis. It is surely a must-visit spot when you visit Japan. Asakusa Kannon, the main object of worship, is said to grant material benefits to the worshipers. The temple grounds are constantly filled with people seeking such benefits, and the number of annual visitors is 30 million, including overseas visitors. The five-storied pagoda and the giant waraji straw sandal said to ward off demons placed at the Hozomon Gate are some of the draws of this temple. On Nakamise Street, events such as the Chinese Lantern Plant Fair and the Hagoita-ichi Battledore Fair are held, and you can experience Edo period scenery (1603-1868). It is a five-minute walk from Asakusa Station on various railway lines such as the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and the Tobu Isesaki Line.

  • Senso-ji Temple
    • Address 2-3-1, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express)
      5 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3842-0181

2.Tsukiji Hongwanji

2.Tsukiji Hongwanji

It is a branch temple of the Jodo Shinshu Honganji denomination, whose honzan (the mother temple) is Nishi Honganji in Kyoto. The temple was originally established near Asakusa in 1617; however, it was burned down by a historic fire. After the fire, because the allocated plot for reconstruction was off the shoreline, devout followers and others who aimed for the reconstruction of the main hall filled the sea to reclaim the land and complete the reconstruction. The name Tsukiji comes from ”reclaimed land.” Although the temple was destroyed again by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, it was reconstructed in 1934 to its current state. The exterior of the main worship hall is an original stone construction in the ancient Indian style, but on the contrary, the interior of the hall is arranged in the traditional Shinshu-sect temple design and layout. Together with the pipe organ and stained glass-fit windows, a mysterious atmosphere is created in the temple. The main image of the temple is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata), which is believed to save all living things equally, and Shinran Shonin propagating its teachings was the origin of the faith of Jodoshinshu sect. On the right and left of the main worship hall are the missionary halls facilitated with a Japanese restaurant and a tea lounge where you can relax and guest rooms open to the public on their 3rd floor. The temple was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 2014. It is a one-minute walk from the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Tsukiji Station.

3.Benten-do

3.Benten-do

The Bentendo Temple in the Shinobazu Pond is one of the remaining buildings of the Toeizan Kan'eiji temple complex, 10 hectres in area, which has a number of National Important Cultural Properties. The founder of Kan’eiji Temple, the high priest Tenkai (1536?-1643) built an artificial islet called Nakanoshima in the Shinobazu Pond after Chikubu Island of Lake Biwa and erected a Bentendo Temple there. The current building was reconstructed in 1958. Its main object of worship, the Happi (eight-armed) Benzaiten originally comes from Hogonji Temple on Chikubu Island. Shinobazu Pond, a spacious natural pond in Ueno Park with Bentendo Hall surrounded by lotus plants is quite a magnificent vista. During spring, the park, popular with residents and tourists alike, is filled with large number of people who enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It is an eight-minute walk from the Park Exit of JR ”Ueno” Station.

  • Benten-do
    • Address 2-1, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
      View Map
    • Nearest Station 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 03-3821-4638

4.Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

4.Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

Its official name is Toyokawa-kaku Myogonji. The temple is nicknamed Toyokawa Inari because its enshrined local guardian deity Toyokawa Dakini-Shinten is said to ride on a white fox. The Tokyo betsuin branch temple has a part of Toyokawa Inari worshiped by Ooka Tadasuke, a magistrate in the Edo period (1603–1867). Toyokawa Inari had been venerated by famous warriors since ancient times, and during the Edo period, it was worshiped by a large number of common people as the deity that grants wishes for business success, family security, and better luck. On the temple grounds stand the statues of seven lucky gods, Ebisu, Daikokuten, Hotei, Benzaiten, Jurojin, Fukurokuju, and Bishamonten, and a pilgrimage tour to all seven statues is can be enjoyed. You can also join the morning zen practice held a few times a month and view the paper lanterns usually lit after sunset. It is a five-minute walk from the Exit B of the Akasaka Mitsuke Station or the Exit #7 of the Nagatacho Station on the Tokyo Metro Line.

5.Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

5.Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

It is the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple that was built in 940 in hopes for peace so that the revolt by then-War General Taira no Masakado would end. Fudo-myoo (Acala, a Buddhist symbol), which is said to lead people to enlightenment with its facial expression filled with fury and wrath, is the temple's main object of worship. Fudo-myoo has been worshiped by many historical figures. As kabuki classical Japanese dance-drama programs gained popularity, with Fudo-myoo performed by Ichikawa Danjuro, in the Edo period, the temple attracted more worshipers and is visited by many worshipers every year even today. The main worship hall, which is the most important place for offering prayers, is open to all visitors. There are many historical buildings for you to see, including the 58-meter-high Great Peace Pagoda with the messages for peace given by the heads of states, and the 25-meter-high, three-story pagoda, which is designated as an Important Cultural Property with beautiful carvings on the outside. On the temple grounds, a large park with a waterfall and a pond are maintained, so visitors can enjoy a relaxing time surrounded by flowers. The temple is a 10-minute walk from the JR Narita Station or the Keisei Line's Keisei Narita Station. It is also only an 8-minute train ride from the Narita Airport Terminal 2 Station to the JR Narita Station.

6.Gokoku-ji

6.Gokoku-ji

Gokoku-ji was established by the wish of Keishoin, the real mother of the 5th shogun of the Edo shogunate named Tsunayoshi Tokugawa in 1681. The main hall was resumed in the Genroku period with the best available knowledge and crafts at the time, which are shown in its delicate sculptures depicting lions, tapirs, and elephants hanging on a pillar (kake-hana). It is a precious building that is preserved as it was at the time of its construction despite it having survived several crises such as fires, earthquakes, and war damages. The principal image, Nyoirin Kanzeon Bosatsu, is exhibited on the 18th of each month. Many buildings on the temple ground, as well as the main hall, have been designated as international and domestic Important Cultural Properties. There is a graveyard in the precinct, and it is well-known for having graves of many historical figures such as Shigenobu Okuma and Aritomo Yamagata (both were politicians). It has great access with a one-minute walk from the exit 1 of the Gokoku-ji Station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line.

  • Gokoku-ji
    • Address 5-4-1, Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 112-0012
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Gokokuji Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
      1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3941-0764

7.Kanei-ji

7.Kanei-ji

Founded in 1625 by Jigen Daishi Tenkai (1536–1643) to pray for peace for the people. Since the Edo period (1603–1868) the Buddhist temple is not only one of the largest of its kind in Japan but one held in the highest esteem. After the Second World War the temple sought to play the role of a Buddhist temple open to public. The temple not only developed a cemetery, but held annual events such as opening the temple buildings, thereby gaining public affinity. Even though it is only a tenth of its former size, the temple still has spacious precincts, about 10 hectares containing buildings such as Kaizando Hall, Bentendo Hall, Mausoleum of the Tokugawa Shoguns, Rin'oden Hall and Ueno Pagoda. Kiyomizu Kannon-do Hall, enshrining the Thousand-armed Kannon (sahasrabhuja arya avalokitezvara); the former Omote-mon Gate of Gohonbo Hall of Kan'eiji Temple, currently at Rin'o-ji Temple; and the Chokugaku-mon Gates (inscribed by the emperor) for the mausoleums of fourth and fifth shoguns Ietsuna and Tsunayoshi are all designated Important Cultural Properties. This is a place to feel the presence of Japanese history. During spring the park area attracts large numbers of visitors for the cherry blossom viewing. An eight-minute walk from Ueno-Koenguchi Exit of Yamanote Loop Ueno Station.

  • Kanei-ji
    • Address 1-14-11, Uenosakuragi, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0002
      View Map
    • Nearest Station 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

8.Zojoji

8.Zojoji

Founded in 1393 by eighth monshu (school head) Yuyo Shoso as a Jodo-shu Buddhist temple, Zojo-ji Temple is best known as the place of mourning for the Tokugawa clan. The temple grounds contain a number of designated Cultural Properties and Treasures. Upon arriving at the temple, the first thing you see is a magnificent, vermilion-lacquered gate — Sangedatsu-mon, or ”The Gate of Three Liberations.” This staggering wooden structure is the largest such gate in eastern Japan and an Important Cultural Property. The main hall with Tokyo Tower in the background can be often seen in tourist brochures. On the underground floor of the main hall is a treasure gallery built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. There are many historical valued displays including the scale model of the mausoleum of the second Tokugawa Shogun, Hidetada, whose posthumous Buddhist name was Taitokuin-den, which belongs to the Royal Collection. In the temple precincts, there are also many sight places including Tokugawa family graves and Ankokuden hall with a secret Buddha statue called Kuro Honzon (the Black Image of Amida Buddha), that is said to grant wishes for gainful luck. A three-minute walk from Onarimon Station on the Toei Mita Line.

  • Zojoji
    • Address 4-7-35, Shibakouen, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0011
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    • Nearest Station Onarimon Station (Toei Mita Line)
      3 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3432-1431

9.Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple

9.Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple

It was built in 1631 in the precincts of Toeizan Kan'ei-ji Temple. Kan'ei-ji Temple was established by Tenkai Daisojo (the highest rank of priesthood) to provide security to the Tokugawa shogunate and tranquility to its people, and also to protect Edo Castle's northeastern gate (which was believed to be unlucky). Many temple halls, modeled after the pattern of famous temples in Kyoto, were built. Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple is one of them, with the no-nail construction that imitates that of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto Higashiyama. Today, it is designated an Important Cultural Property of the country, with an impressively vivid cinnabar facade. The Senju Kannon statue, the main image of the temple, created by Eshin Sozu, was also inspired by Kiyomizu Temple and today is worshiped as ”hibutsu,” a hidden Buddha. In addition, the ”Moon Pine,” one of the ukiyo-e masterpieces by Utagawa Hiroshige (a painter of the Edo era), depicted in the series called ”One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,” has been restored after about 150 years. The rare pine branch that makes a complete revolution is a must-see. It is an 8-minute walk from JR (Japan Railways) Ueno Station.

  • Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple
    • Address 1-29, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
      View Map
    • Nearest Station 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 03-3821-4749

10.Tennoji

10.Tennoji

Situated in a corner of the vast Yanaka cemetery surrounded by nature, this is one of the best-known old temples in Tokyo. It is believed that the temple was established in the Kamakura period and is known for its style that is a combination of traditional temple architecture and modern architecture. A god of wealth and bravery is enshrined there. The temple was originally a Nichiren-shu Buddhist temple, and its official name is Gokoku-zan Sonju-in Tennoji. It is said that the temple was established in the late Kamakura era, and the local lord, Nagateru Seki, created a small house in devotion for Buddhist monk Nichiren, who visited him. Nichiren's student, Nichigen, later enshrined a sculpture of Nichiren that was carved by Nichiren himself, and the house was then named Choyo-zan Kan'noji. Tomi-kuji lotteries were widely played during the Edo period, and the Ten'noji Temple along with the Ryusenji Temple in Meguro and the Yushima Tenjin were popular as the Edo's three temples that issued lotteries. The five-storied pagoda at the Ten'noji Temple became a model of a novel ”Goju-no-To,” or ”The Five-Storied Pagoda,” by a great author, Rohan Koda. This pagoda was built in 1644 but burnt down in 1771. Its remains are left at Yanaka Cemetery. It is a 2-minute walk from the South Exit of the Nippori Station on the JR Line.

  • Tennoji
    • Address 7-14-8, Yanaka, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0001
      View Map
    • Nearest Station 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
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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