According to Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan has about 77,000 temples and about 81,000 shrines in 2017. It is about 158,000 in total…! The number of convenient stores in Japan is about 55,000 and that of parks is about 108,000 so you can see how lot we have temples and shrines.

Differences between temples and shrines

Temples follow Buddhism and shrines follow Shintoism. Buddhism is a world wide religion but the orient of Shintoism is Japan. The god of Buddhism is Buddha. It is quite casual religion for Japanese that we don’t take it seriously.

There are cemeteries in temples but there are non in shrines. Shintoism believes that death is disgrace so you’ll never find cemetery in shrines.

You can find Torii gate when you’re in shrines. There are no Torii gate in temples. Specific meanings of Torii gate are unclear but it is usually said that Torii gate is the entrance of shrines and a boundary between the precincts and the world the people live.

Major Shrine•Temple in Tokyo

Sensoji Temple is one of the most famous temples in Japan and very popular sightseeing spot for Japanese too. It has a history of over 1,400 years and is known as the oldest temple in Tokyo. We introduce 3 main highlights of Sensoji Temple!

A very famous shrine in Tokyo. Once you step in Meiji Jingu Shrine, you can’t believe you’re in crowded town, Harajuku. Spiritual atmosphere makes you feel refreshed. Kiyomasa no Ido (Kiyomasa’s well) is also famous here. It is the well of spring water which is rare in Tokyo.

Tsukiji Honganji Temple is a Buddhist temple following Jodo Shinshu sect. It is about 3 minutes walk from the Tsukiji outer market. This temple is very famous as it doesn’t look like a typical Japanese temple. The decorations are gorgeous with gold powder and it even has a pipe organ. The current temple opened in 1934 was designed by Chuta Ito, a Japanese architect who travelled around Asian countries.

Hanazono Shrine is magnificently standing in the town of Shinjuku. It is said that this shrine has watched over the development of Shinjuku from 400 years ago. The red shrine is very vivid in the middle of Shinjuku. On the days of roosters (Tori-no-hi) in every November, matsuri (festival) is held and attracts many people!

Fukutoku Jinja Shrine located near COREDO Muromachi is a shrine with a long history. It is said that Fukutoku Jinja Shrine was built during the Jogan Period (859~876). Tokugawa Ieyasu, the 1st Tokugawa Shogun also visited here many times. Please enjoy the sacred and traditional atmosphere at this shrine.
Hie Jinja shrine is a high ranked shrine as Meiji Jingu shrine in Harajuku. Japanese Government offices are located near Akasaka so this shrine is also famous that politicians often come to pray. Torii gates stairways are very photogenic we would like you to visit.
Ueno Toshogu Shrine is magnificently located in the Ueno park with about 400 years history. It is a famous shrine enshrining the great Shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa, who built the Edo period and unified Japan for the first time. Shining gold gate is designated as an Important Cultural Property by the government!
Kanda Myoujin Shrine is a famous Shinto shrine in Kanda. It is said that Kanda Myoujin was first built about 1,300 years ago at today’s Otemachi area and moved to the current location in 1616. Kanda Myoujin is one of the 10 special shrines in Tokyo selected by the Meiji Emperor and it holds one of Tokyo’s 3 great Matsuri (festival) every odd numbered year. EDOCCO Edo Culture Complex, a popular facility introducing Japanese culture is located here.

How to pray

①Put money in the offering box.
②Fold hands to worship.
③After you prayed, please bow one time.

①Put money in the offering box.
②Bow two times and clap your hands twice.
③Then fold hands to worship and bow one time after praying.