Kinkaku-ji-Golden Pavilion-top-shrines-temples-japan

Japan is a unique and wonderful place to visit. The country has a rich history, beautiful scenery, and some of the most delicious food in the world.

The country has a rich tradition that stretches back thousands of years and includes many religions and practices. You can learn about the history of Japan’s best temples and shrines.

So all that’s left is getting your Japan visa and starting planning the trip of a lifetime.

1. Sensō-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple)

best-shrines-and-temples-in-japan-Sensō-ji-Asakusa Kannon Temple

The Sensō-ji is one of the most famous temples in Japan, and it’s the oldest. It is also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, and it is located in the Asakusa district of Tokyo

The temple was built in 645 AD and is dedicated to the goddess Kannon, who represents mercy and compassion. As the legend goes, two brothers dedicated the temple to her after finding a statue of her in the Sumida River.

2. Meiji Jingū (Meiji Shrine)

best-temples-and-shrines-in-japan-Meiji Jingū

In western Tokyo, Meiji Jingū (Meiji Shrine) is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. It was formally opened in 1920 and is one of the most famous shrines in Tokyo. 

The shrine has a large collection of sculptures and other artwork that depict events from the life of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. The shrine is magnificent and well-maintained, surrounded by a large park.

3. Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji-Golden Pavilion-top-shrines-temples-japan

The Kinkaku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple and one of the most beautiful in Japan. It’s located in Kyoto and is one of the biggest attractions in the city.

The temple’s main structure is covered with pure gold leaf, giving it its name that translates as “Golden Pavilion.” The structure displays three distinct styles of architecture on each floor: shinden, samurai, and zen.

4. Kiyomizu-Dera (Pure Water Temple)

Kiyomizu-Dera is a Buddhist temple built in 778 AD. It’s located on the eastern slopes of Mount Otowa in the city of Kyoto. This temple is famous for its wooden stage that overlooks the city and its wooden staircase.

The temple is also known for its pure water, which is believed to have healing powers. The water comes from Otowa no Taki (Otowa Waterfall), which flows directly into the temple’s main hall.

5. Tōdaiji (Eastern Great Temple)

top-shrines-and-temples-in-japan-Tōdaiji-Eastern Great Temple

Tōdai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex in Nara, and it was once one of the Seven Great Temples of the southern capital. The temple was built in 752 CE, and since then, it has undergone several reconstructions.

The Eastern Great Temple is home to a giant bronze statue of the Buddha, Vairocana. It’s also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.”

6. Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks)

best-temples-and-shrines-in-Japan-Meoto-Iwa-Wedded Rocks

Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks) are two rocks off the coast of Ise, Mie. They are connected by an islet submerged at high tide, making them stand alone as two separate rocks.

The rocks are often referred to as husband and wife, and the legend is that they were once a pair of lovers whose families separated. The rocks are connected by a heavy rope of rice straw, replaced several times a year during a sacred ceremony.

7. Ise Shrines

top-shrines-and-temples-in-japan-Ise Shrines

The Ise Shrine complex is a series of shrines dedicated to the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu. There are many shrines, which are all centered around two main ones: Naikū (Inner Shrine) and Gekū (Outer Shrine).

The design of the main building at each shrine changes every 20 years, keeping with Shinto belief in the death and renewal of nature—a process called Shikinen Sengū.

8. Tōshō-gū Shrine

Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Shinto shrine-best-temples-and-shrines-in-Japan

Tōshō-gū shrine is a Shinto shrine located in the city of Nikkō, in Tochigi Prefecture. The shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, whose son was a shogun (military general) during the Edo period. 

The shrine itself is beautiful and impressive—you’ll see lots of beautiful red torii gates leading up to it and many smaller shrines surrounding the main one, along with ponds full of koi fish (carp).


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