Japan Travel by NAVITIME - Japan Travel Guides, Transit Search and Itinerary Planner

Temple Spots in Japan

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    10590 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Kiyomizu 1-294
    A famous Buddhist temple located in Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The temple is said to have been started when the priest Enchin enshrined a thousand-armed statue of Kannon above the Otowa Waterfall in 778. The main temple nave enshrines a standing figure of an eleven-faced Kannon and is built in the elegant Shinden-zukuri style. The Kiyomizu Stage jutting out over the Cliffside offers a sweeping view of the streets of Kyoto and blooming cherry trees, verdant plant life, or autumn foliage depending on the season, making it a popular photo spot. The three channeled Otowa Waterfall is said to provide benefits such as long life and people line up to drink its waters. Bustling with students on a school excursion as well as tourists both domestic and international, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist sites.

    One of the nicer place to see autumn leaves. Too bad the temple is still under renovation. But I still won't skip this place if I visit Kyoto.

  • Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kamigyou-ku Bakurochou
    Popularly known as “Kitano no Tenjin-san,” this Shinto shrine is located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City. The shrine was founded in 947. It is also the head shrine of all 12 thousand Tenmangu and Tenjin shrines throughout the country dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the god of scholarship. The shrine is frequented by students and test-takers not only during entrance exam season in winter but throughout the year. The main shrine, erected in 1607, is a National Treasure and a magnificent example of Momoyama architecture. Famed for its Japanese apricot blossoms, a gorgeous open air tea ceremony is performed by Kamishichiken geisha at the shrine during the Plum Blossom Festival on February 25. The shrine also bustles with numerous street stalls and people during the Tenjin Market, opened every month on the 25th.
  • Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Chiba Pref. Naritashi Narita 1
    Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is a lead temple in the Chisan school of Shingon located in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. In order to suppress a revolt by Tairano Masakado which broke out in the Heian period, it began with the fact that Kobo Daishi was spiritually enlightened by the high priest Kancho as Acala was enshrined and became the principal image of worship at the temple. Many well-known figures had strong faith including such figures as Minamotono Yoritomo, Mito Mitsukuni and Ichikawa Danjuro, and Narita Fudo prompted many commoners to have faith. On the grounds of the temple, there are very big gardens maintained which cover an area of approximately 3.5 times that of Tokyo Dome, and you can see seasonal plants in the garden.
  • Rokuon-ji Temple (Kinkaku-ji Temple)
    rating-image
    4.5
    15343 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Kinkakujichou 1
    This temple began when third generation shogun of the Muromachi shogunate Ashikaga Yoshimitsu inherited the Saionji family's mountain villa and called the villa “Kitayamadono.” After his death it was changed into a Zen temple named “Rokuonji.” The reliquary hall is a three-story building shining beautifully in gold and looks pretty reflected in the Kyokoike (mirror pond). This brilliant architecture was a symbol of Kitayama culture but burned down in a 1950 fire, then was rebuilt in 1955. In 1994 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    It's a beautiful setting with vendors at start and finish. An interesting walk as part of our tour....which included a few shrines . Not much to see beyond the gardens and building photo ops .

  • Yushima Tenmangu (Yushima Tenjin)
    rating-image
    4.0
    361 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Bunkyou-ku Yushima 3-30-1
    This is a Shinto shrine located in Yushima in Bunkyo City and is representative of an Edo-Tokyo Tenmangu Shrine. It is said that this shrine was built in 458 A.D. by imperial command of Emperor Yuraku in order to enshrine Ameno-tajikaraono-mikoto as a deity. Later in the Nanboku-cho period, Sugawara Michizane was also enshrined. As the Shinto god of scholarship, many students preparing for exams pay homage at the shrine. The precincts are so elegant, and they were the subject of works by the ukiyo-e artist, Utagawa Hiroshige. From early February at the Japanese plum blossom festival (“Ume Matsuri”), the Japanese plums are magnificent in full bloom on the grounds and the festival is busy with sightseers.

    If visiting shrines is your thing, you must go to this one. Since I am currently doing studies I needed to go there and found the place lovely. If you don't like crowded places, like me, you will...

  • Yasaka-jinja Shrine (Gion Shrine)
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachikitagawa 625
    Popularly known as Gion Shrine, this Shinto shrine is the head shrine of all 3,000 some Gion shrines in Japan. The main shrine building, a designated Important Cultural Property, is actually comprised of the separate shrine sanctuary and worship hall combined under one roof in an architectural style called Gion-zukuri. The shrine’s famed Gion Matsuri festival in summer got its start as a ceremony to pray for the end of a great plague in 869. From New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, the shrine is visited by a great many worshippers come to perform the “okera-mairi” ceremony. The ceremony involves lighting a lucky rope from sacred fire of burning “okera” (Atractylodes japonica) roots to bring the fire home and start one’s first home fire of the new year, thus bringing good luck for the rest of the year. The Ota-sha Shrahige-jinja Shrine located on the grounds of Yasaka Shrine is believed to provide grant divine favor to those seeking to improve in the performing arts and, as such, the shrine is visited by Gion geisha and maiko.
  • Kanda Shrine (Kanda Myojin)
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Chiyoda-ku Sotokanda 2-16-2
    This shrine located in Soto-Kanda in Tokyo’s Chiyoda City boasts close to 1,300 years of history. In the past, this shrine was revered as the Edo Sochinju (the center place to pray for local gods) with a Soujigami (general local Shinto deity) that was the patron of Tokyo’s 108 towns. There are many commemorative photo spots including the impressive Shaden (main building) built in 1934 that is completely covered in bright vermillion as well as the “Chikara Ishi,” which is a big stone that was used by young people in competitions to show off their strength. The enshrined deities are Okuninushi no Mikoto (Daikokuten), Sukunahikona no Mikoto (Ebisu), and Taira no Masakado. The Kanda-matsuri festival held around mid-May is counted as one of the three largest Edo festivals. The shrine has even become famous in recent years for collaborations with anime works.
  • Byodoin
    rating-image
    4.5
    1409 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Ujishi Uji Renge 116
    A Buddhist temple located in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture that was founded in 1052 when Fujiwara no Michinaga, the father of Fujiwara no Yorimichi, turned a villa he had inherited into a temple. Due to the pessimism of the time which believed the world was coming to an end, Pure Land Buddhism grew in popularity, and the temple’s hall was designed to recreate the Western Paradise, a key aspect of the faith. The luxurious hall enshrines a seated figure of Amitabha created by the Buddhist sculptor Jocho. Most of the original temple excluding the main hall, Kannon hall, and bell tower were destroyed by fire. In the Byodoin Museum Hoshokan, however, visitors can view a Chinese Phoenix depicted on the ceiling and temple bell (National Treasures) as well as 26 of the 52 floating bodhisattva figures suspended from the ceiling of the main hall.

    The temple and grounds are very beautiful and calming. The museum has a wonderful collection and it was also very peaceful to wonder through. If you want something relaxing to do for an hour or two...

  • Jindaiji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Choufushi Jindaijimotomachi 5-15-1
    Located in the Jindaiji Motomachi district of Tokyo’s Chofu City, this is the special head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism and is the second oldest temple in Tokyo after Sensoji Temple. Along with halls such as the Ganzan Daishi hall, with its statue of Ganzan Daishi who attracted faith in the Edo period, and the Shaka-do (Buddha Hall) which enshrines the late Asuka period sitting statue of Shaka Nyorai (the historical Buddha), visitors can enjoy the new green leaves of early summer and the colorful leaves of autumn on the premises. The soba shops in the temple town are famous for their Jindaiji soba. The GeGeGe-no-Kitaro chaya (tea house) which operates with the theme of the comic GeGeGe-no-Kitaro is very popular. The Yakuyoke Ganzan Daishi Taisai (Jindaiji Daruma Festival) held each year on March 3rd and 4th is the temple’s largest event with approximately 300 shops all open during this time!
  • To-ji Temple (Kyo-o-gokoku-ji Temple)
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Minami-ku Kujouchou 1
    This Buddhist temple is the only remaining structure built during the days of the ancient capital of Heian-kyo (the former name of the city of Kyoto) and officially named Kyo-o gokoku-ji Temple. The temple was registered as a World Heritage site in 1994. The temple’s numerous National Treasures are worthy of note, such as its Kondo Hall (Main Hall), Daishido Hall (Miei House), and five tier pagoda, which is 55 meters (187 feet) tall and is the tallest wooden structure in Japan. Some of the temple’s many other historic and cultural assets include the southern gate and lecture hall, both registered as Important Cultural Properties.
  • Zenkoji Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    1693 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Naganomotoyoshichou 491-b
    "Located in Nagano City, this temple does not belong to any sect. Any sect is free to worship here, which has received veneration for having Japan's oldest Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai as the main deity. During the Edo period, it was said that ""once in your life, visit Zenkoji Temple,"" The ""oasaji"" is performed every day during the sunrise. If you purchase a ticket for the inner sanctum, you can worship up close. The ""zenritsu honzon"" is performed once every seven years. About 15 minutes by bus from JR Nagano Station."

    Zenko-ji Temple should be a "must see" spot in Nagoya. Quite an amazing temple with a lovely pathway in front. Highly recommended.

  • Tōdai-ji
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1
    This temple which is located in Nara City is the head temple of the Kegon sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship at the temple is Vairocana-Buddha which has become a symbol of Nara and is known as “Nara’s Big Buddha”. Emperor Shomu issued a decree to construct the Great Buddha in 743, and in order to enshrine that Great Buddha, Tōdai-ji was constructed using all the nation’s power. National Treasures such as the Nandaimon (Great South Gate), Daibutsuden (the Great Buddha), the bell tower and the Hokke-do Hall are dotted throughout the grounds of the temple. It is known internationally as a Japanese sightseeing spot with many foreign tourists also visiting the temple.
  • Sumiyoshi Taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine)
    Travel / Tourism
    Osaka Osakashi Sumiyoshi-ku Sumiyoshi 2-9-89
    Known affectionately as “Sumiyossan,” the Sumiyoshi Taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine) is a Shinto Shrine located in the Sumiyoshi Ward of Osaka City, in Osaka Prefecture. It is the head shrine of all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan, of which there are around 2,300 in total. The Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the most popular shrines in the Kinki region for the Hatsumode (the first visit to a shrine in the New Year), and it is thronged with worshippers every January. The founding of the Sumiyoshi Taisha is recorded in the Nihon Shoki (“Chronicles of Japan”), which notes that the Empress Jingu ordered the construction of the shrine to worship Sumiyoshi no Ohkami. Sumiyoshi no Ohkami (which is actually three Shinto deities in one) is renowned as the god of the sea and the god of exorcism. The four halls that make up the Hon-den (main hall) of the Sumiyoshi Taisha are built in the architectural style known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri; all four have been designated as National Treasures.
  • Jisho-ji Temple (Ginkaku-ji Temple)
    rating-image
    4.5
    4254 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ginkakujichou 2
    A mountain retreat modeled after the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Gold Pavillion Temple) built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, grandfather of the eighth Muromachi shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, in 1482. After Yoshimasa’s death, the villa was turned into a Rinzai Shokoku-ji school Zen Buddhist temple and, based on Yoshimasa’s posthumous name, the temple was named the Jishoji Temple. The Kannon Hall, commonly known as the Ginkaku (Silver Pavillion), is simple and elegant in its design; the Togu-do hall is the oldest extant example of ancient Japanese shoin-zukuri architecture and is designated a National Treasure.

    This was the first temple and gardens we visited in Kyoto and after viewing many others, we thought it was one of the better ones. Impressive clipped hedges walking up to the entrance. Excellent...

  • Nishiarai Daishi Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Adachi-ku Nishiarai 1-15-1
    This temple of the Buzan sect of Shingon Buddhism is located in the Nishiarai district of Tokyo’s Adachi City, and is officially known as Gochisan Henjoin Soji-ji. It is said to have been founded in 826 and is considered to have begun when the monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) visited Nishiarai and personally carved a statue of the eleven-faced Kannon, the principal object of worship in the temple, to help people that were worried about an epidemic that was going around, and also made prayers on their behalf. It flourished in the past as a temple for women to pray for protection against misfortune, and now as one of the three Daishi temples in Kanto it is bustling with visitors every year for hatsu-mode (the first visit to a shrine in the new year). From around early April there are approximately 100 types and 2,500 plants of botan (tree peonies) that bloom all over the temple grounds, and it is famous as a place to see botan.
  • Tsukiji Hongwanji
    rating-image
    4.0
    892 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Chuou-ku Tsukiji 3-15-1
    Tsukiji Hongwanji is a building of reinforced concrete construction with a round roof and a big stone staircase. It is an ancient Indian style temple and also looks like a palace. It is a temple of Jodo Shinshu Hongan-ji School located in Tsukiji in Chuo City, Tokyo and was originally built in 1617 in Asakusa as a branch temple of Nishi-hongan-ji temple in Kyoto. Subsequently, the building was relocated to the current building which was constructed to incorporate the designs of the architect, Chuta Ito. The building has been designated as a National Cultural Property. It is famous for having held the funerals of many notable public figures. A theater called “Buddhist Hall” is built on the grounds of the property.

    I was intrigued by my guidebook's mention of Indian architectural influences, so I went to take a look. It;s obviously a modern structure, but indeed it incorporates stylistic elements from India...

  • Nanzen-ji Zen Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Nanzenjifukuchichou
    The head temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was founded by the priest Mukan Fumon as the Zenrin-ji-dono, the imperial villa of Emperor Kameyama in 1291. The temple’s standing is high; it is considered above the five most important Rinzai temples in both Kyoto and Kamakura. Its triple gate is considered one of the three most impressive temple gates in Kyoto and is also famous as the setting of a scene in the kabuki play Sanmon gosan no kiri, in which the character of Ichikawa Goemon utters the well-known line, “How beautiful, how beautiful!” The temple houses numerous Important Cultural Properties, such as famed painter Kano Tan’yu’s screen paining The Tiger of Mizunomi. The grounds contain an abbot’s residence which is a National Treasure and was moved here from the former imperial palace of Fushimi Castle. The temple’s garden is a dry landscape garden representative of the early Edo period style.
  • Tofuku-ji Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    1608 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Honmachi 15-778
    Construction of this large temple was begun in 1236 by the regent Kujo Michiie, who wanted to enshrine Kyoto’s largest monastery. The construction ultimately took 19 years to complete. The temple’s spacious grounds are home to such highlights as Japan’s oldest main temple gate (a designated National Treasure), and a toilet constructed in the Zen style as well as a temple nave decorated with a painting of a dragon on its ceiling (both Important Cultural Properties). Four gardens are distributed to the east, west, north, and south sides of the grounds, and each offers charming but different scenery. The northern garden in particular, with its checkerboard of moss and stones, is a must-see.

    We have visited many spots for autumn foliage in Kyoto. Tofuku-ji Temple is definitely number one. The dense red leaves in myriad shades and shapes are beautiful beyond description. No photo can...

  • Daikyoji Temple (Shibamata Taishakuten)
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Katsushika-ku Shibamata 7-10-3
    A temple of the school of Nichiren Buddhism in Shibamata, Katsushika City, Tokyo which was founded in 1629 during the Kan-ei period. As the Taishakuten faith increased during the Edo period, it became familiarly known as “Shibamata Taishakuten” and the number of visitors to the shrine increased together with faith in Koshin, “Koshin Shinko”. It is said that Saint Nichiren carved the principal object of worship at the temple, the deity, Taishakuten. In addition to the magnificent Nitenmon Gates at the Teishakuten entrance, Tamonten (Vaisravana) (Bishamonten), Jikokuten (Dhrtarastra), Komokuten (Virupaksa) and Zochoten (Virudhaka) are also present. There are many highlights such as the gardens and the large temple reception hall which is 495 meters squared (150 tsubo -Japanese unit of land measurement). It is famous also as the temple connected with Tora san’s movie “Otoko wa Tsurai yo”.
  • Ryoanji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Ryouanji Otoritoshita 13
    This Buddhist temple in Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture is famous for its rock garden. A Zen temple, it was founded in 1450 by the statesman Hosokawa Katsumoto. The shrine grew dilapidated due to the anti-Buddhism movement of the early Meiji period but became world-famous after Queen Elizabeth II visited the temple and praised the beauty of the rock garden. The garden, called the Hojo Tei-en, is a traditional flat garden comprised of 15 stones of various sizes placed amongst white gravel which are designed such that one of the stones will not be visible no matter what angle one views the garden from. Highlights of the temple include Japanese camellias admired by the great general Toyotomi Hideyoshi as well as the Zorakuan tea house. The best time to see the water lilies blooming in the temple pond starts from early summer.

Search for Travel Information from Photographs

Browse Interests