My favorite shrines and temples in Tokyo

DAIBUTSU in Kamakura

6Daibutsu

The giant Buddha in Kamakura not only makes for spectacular pix, you can go inside!

• Classic Japan photo op • Biggest bronze Buddha figure in the country • You can go inside the hollow statue and see how it was made

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Directions & maps

FUKUGAWA FUDO TEMPLE in Monzen-Nakacho

4FukugawaFudo

The place to see red-hot fire ceremonies, with awesome taiko drums!

Fire ceremonies with drums, five times a day • Hall of 10,000 crystal figures of Fudo-san • Room with 108 glow-in-the-dark paintings of gods • Dragon fountain that grants wishes written on dissolving amulets • Giant wooden Fudo figure

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Directions & map

GOTOKU-JI TEMPLE in Gotokuji

4Gotokuji

The lucky cat temple!

Thousands of lucky maneki neko cat figures • Stunning natural cedar pagoda • Excellent cherry blossoms, plum blossoms and fall leaves

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Directions & map

HOKOKU-JI BAMBOO TEMPLE in Kamakura

4.BambooTemple

This temple has a magnificent forest of giant bamboo and extensive walking paths through the cool & shady grounds

Paths take you through bamboo forest and area of lush greenery, studded with caves • Nice teahouse where you can have a bowl of mattcha (tea ceremony-style green tea) and traditional sweets

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IKEGAMI HONMONJI TEMPLE in Ikegami

4.Ikegami

Gorgeous red pagoda, and home of the festival of 10,000 lanterns

Famous monk Nichiren’s final home before he died • Spectacular Oeshiki festival (Festival of 10,000 Lanterns) in October • Splendid red and gold buildings

Directions & map

IMADO SHRINE in Asakusa

4.ImadoShrine

The lucky cat figures at this shrine are dedicated to matchmaking! • Shrine shop sells adorable cat merchandise

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Map

KANDA SHRINE in Akihabara

4KandaMyojin

This is the Anime Shrine – where anime and manga artists go to pray for success

Amazing art drawn on prayer plaques by visitors • Beautiful red and gold shrine buildings • You can buy a charm to protect your electronics • Weddings and ceremonies galore

Directions & map

MEIJI SHRINE in Harajuku

4MeijiJingu

My favorite place to see weddings, people in gorgeous kimonos and period costume

Weddings • Festivals • People wearing kimonos • Cedar buildings built without nails • Chance of real live tanuki sighting

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Directions & map

NEZU SHRINE in Nezu

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My favorite Tokyo shrine, in a neighborhood unchanged by time

Tunnel of orange torii gates • Beautifully restored gold and lacquer buildings • Old-fashioned neighborhood that escaped WWII bombing

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Directions & map

NISHI-ARAI DAISHI TEMPLE (also known as Soji-ji) at Daishimae

4NishiaraiDaishi

One stop shop for garden strolling and wart curing!

Famous peony gardens bloom in April • Wart-curing Jizo figure

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Directions and map

SASUKE INARI SHRINE in Kamakura

SaskukeInari

The fox shrine to end all fox shrines

Enter through a gorgeous tunnel of orange torii gates • Mysterious little moss-covered fox “villages” line a footpath that wends its way up a shady mountainside

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Directions & map

SENGAKU-JI TEMPLE in Sengakuji

4Sengakuji

Truth is stranger than fiction – see the actual burial place of the legendary 47 ronin

Graves of the 47 ronin • Their signed confession • The well where they washed Lord Kira’s severed head • Statue portaits of the real 47 ronin

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Directions & map

SENSO-JI TEMPLE in Asakusa

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If you want to combine shrines & temples with souvenir shopping & festivities, this is where you should go.

Giant Buddhist temple (Senso-ji) • Asakusa Shrine (Shinto) • Great place to see festivals & weddings

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Directions & maps

TSURUGAOKA HACHIMANGU SHRINE in Kamakura

4.Tsurugaoka

A magnificent red & gold shrine, built by the shogun when Kamakura was the capitol of Japan

Red & white lotus ponds represent the two warring families who were united under the shogun • Excellent traditional events & festivals

Map

YASUKUNI SHRINE in Kudanshita

4Yasukuni

Impressive Imperial shrine that hosts many lively festivals throughout the year • Extensive WWII museum • Japanese garden with koi pond • Sumo amphitheatre where amateur events take place • Controversial because the souls of all Japanese war dead are enshrined here

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Directions & Map

YUSHIMA SHRINE in Yushima

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This is a gorgeous shrine, seldom visited by tourists

Jewel-like example of a cedar wood and gold shrine • Famous plum blossom festival (Feb) and chrysanthemum festival (Nov) • Musical water garden

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Directions & map

ZENIARAI BENTEN SHRINE in Kamakura

4Zeniarai

This is a beautiful shrine where you can wash your money so it will double within the year

Enter through a tunnel cut through the rock • Shrine is in the middle of a grotto with beautiful waterfalls • Wash your money in the stream running through the shrine’s cave, and it will double within the year

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Directions & map

ZOJO-JI TEMPLE in Kamiyacho

4Zojoji

Stately temple favored by the shoguns

Thousands of Jizo figures • Seven Tokugawa shōguns are buried here • Holiday ceremonies with Japanese celebrities

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Directions & map

Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo. Her fourth book – Painted Doll – is just out in paperback 

It's been nine years since she didn't make it home, but now Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura's life is about to unravel... Read more
When Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death ten years ago wasn’t an accident, his world begins to unravel. New evidence links her to…Read more

PAINTED DOLL book trailer (1:08)