5 Most Recommended Shinto Shrines
When you are planning a trip to Japan, it can be difficult to choose which shrine to visit because there are so many interesting shrines to choose from. Therefore, we present you a list of 5 of the most impressive Shinto shrines to visit during your stay in Japan.
- Ise Jingu: Ise Jingu, officially named ‘Jingu’, includes 125 jinja (Shinto shrine) centered around Kotaijingu (Naiku) that are dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami. The area is approximately the same size as the city center of Paris. Every year more than 1,500 rituals are performed to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial Family, world peace, and a great harvest. The Ise Jingu Shrine is listed as the most important shrine in Japan. It is located in Mie prefecture.
- Yasukuni Jinja: In the heart of Tokyo, in Kudanshita, you can find the Imperial Yasukuni Shrine. Yasukuni literally means ‘Country in peace’. This beautiful precinct maintains the record of 2,466,000 souls who lost their lives in conflicts from the Meiji era to the end of the war in 1945. Here, and here all those souls are thanked for their efforts. It is considered one of the most important shrines in Japan due to its long history and its objective saying that Japan can never enter a war conflict ever again. Traditional events and performances are often held on the shrine grounds, which makes it extra interesting to visit for tourists.
- Meiji Jingu: In the Shibuya area is the famous Meiji Jingu, where the souls of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken are worshiped. Today it is one of the most important tourist spots in Tokyo, attracting thousands of tourists from the early hours of the morning until closing time at sunset. The venue is located in a forest in the middle of the capital city. This forest is made up of more than 120,000 trees of 365 species donated by each prefecture of Japan and some from people from abroad. In this sanctuary, only the souls of the Emperor and Empress are venerated.
- Itsukushima jinja: In the Hiroshima prefecture, within Itsukushima Island (commonly known as Miyajima), there is a beautiful Shinto shrine called Itsukushima-jinja. The shrine is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This sacred precinct has the particularity of giving the impression of floating in the water, in fact, it was built above the Seto sea. Unlike most Shinto shrines, where the torii gate is located on the way to the precinct, the torii is in the sea and is perfectly aligned with the Honden (main sanctuary). The O-Torii (Great Torii Gate), which rises from the sea at about 16.8 meters high, is among the most interesting structures of the Itsukushima Shrine. It is considered one of the 3 most beautiful landscapes in all of Japan.
- Fushimi Inari Taisha: In all of Japan there are around 32,000 Shinto shrines dedicated to god Inari. The main shrine and head of the entire network is located in the city of Kyoto. Known worldwide for its more than 10,000 Toriis in a row, the Fushimi Inari Taisha attracts around 3 million visitors during the first three days of the year alone and is one of Kyoto’s top attractions. The shrine is located at the base of Mount Inari and includes many minor shrines that span the 4 kilometers to the top of the 233-meter high mountain.
Although there are many more Shinto shrines, if you have little time in Japan, this list will hopefully make it a little easier to plan your visit.