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Tuesday, 29th April 2014
In General Japan News,

Tokyo: Temples and shrines

Japan is renowned for being absolutely peppered with temples and shrines, with these making up many of the sightseeing opportunities throughout the major cities. But it can often be a bit overwhelming when deciding which to visit. For this reason, we've prepared a number of key locations to head to around Tokyo that we think are worth visiting.

When visiting any of the below, it's important to oversee the customs outlined. Take off your shoes where necessary and avoid taking photographs if you can see signs to this effect.

Meiji Shrine

A forest haven located in the urban sprawl that is Tokyo, the Meiji Shrine is an improbable oasis of calm. Shielded from the roar of traffic, you'll forget you're in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world.


Particularly adored by tourists for its giant crimson paper lantern - which makes for a great photo opportunity - this Buddhist temple can be found in Asakusa and is also notable for being Tokyo's oldest temple. You can buy myriad souvenirs from the street sellers that congregate here on a daily basis.


Venture out of Tokyo to this famed city in the mountains. You'll find dozens of important temples as well as the Sacred Bridge, which is today blocked off for preservation purposes but it is easy to snap a photo. Keep an eye out for the Three Wise Monkeys - and also their real life counterparts in the winter, who often descend from the mountains in search of food.


Commemorated at this Buddhist temple are the 47 ronin who famously exacted revenge on the man who overthrew their original master, in the most famous legend of Japan. The men paid for their loyalty with their lives. It's worth brushing up on the legend before you get here if you want to make the most of your visit.

Written by Mark Smith


Related news stories:
Viability of Buddhist temples 'in doubt' (3rd September 2008)