Yasukuni Shrine

A shrine dedicated to the war dead which is also a famous place for cherry blossoms. The festival stalls are a must-see.

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During the sakura season, the area surrounding Yasukuni Shrine becomes the most beautiful famous place in Tokyo for cherry blossoms. Although there is also the controversy of the war dead enshrined at Yasukuni, the shrine, where you can experience traditional events every season, has plenty of things to see.
Business Hours
Saturday ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Sunday ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Weekdays ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Address
3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone
(03) 3261-8326

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About

The spirits of people ranging from the upheaval after the end of the Edo Era to World War II are enshrined

Yasukuni Shrine had its origins as Tokyo Shokonsha Shrine when it consecrated all those who had fallen in battle during the period of revolution (the Meiji Restoration) as the age of the samurai changed from 1869 to a time of modern nation-building. Afterwards, it was re-named Yasukuni Shrine, and it was there that the dead from the end of the Edo Era in 1853 to the Second World War were also enshrined.

At the shrine, please appreciate the beauty of the structures there. Ahead on the straight path into the area, there are grand and soaring torii gates before reaching the impressive haiden front shrine. This is the calm place for the repose of the spirits. There, not only are the war dead enshrined but also statues representing spirits of horses and dogs. Also at the Yushukan military museum, exhibits and data related to the war are on permanent display and you can learn about the history of the war.

There is a Japanese garden within the grounds where you can enjoy a relaxing stroll. There is also a Noh stage and a sumo wrestling hall where Noh, Japanese dance and sumo are performed in dedication to the resting spirits.

A splendid cherry blossom festival with 600 cherry trees

Especially during the season of blossoming cherries, the 600 cherry trees within the grounds are a sight to see. The sakura festival is held and with nearby Chidorigafuchi, people are charmed by the mass blossoming of cherries. Customary Noh is performed as a dedication, and the performances of Noh dances against the illuminated backdrop of blossoms at night are magical and extremely beautiful. Also the summer festival, Mitama Matsuri, is famous as a reminder of the season. It’s a festival that began as an O-bon (a summer event in dedication to ancestors and the dead) event, and the nighttime stalls are lively with 30,000 paper lanterns and hand lanterns decorating the whole area of the shrine and lighting up the summer night.

Come and visit Yasukuni Shrine where you can experience traditional Japanese events all throughout the year such as the hatsumode during the New Year and the grand annual festivals in spring and fall.

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Access

Leave Kudanshita Station from Exit 1, and walk directly forward for three minutes. You will see the entrance to Yasukuni Shrine marked by a large torii gate.

From Shinjuku Station to Kudanshita Station:
Take the Shinjuku Line direct to Kudanshita Station (8 minutes, ¥220)

From Tokyo Station to Kudanshita Station:
Take the Marunouchi Line to Otemachi Station, change trains to the Tozai Line to Kudanshita Station (5 minutes, ¥170)

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Reviews

4 years ago
A popular place to visit on New Years Day
Hatsumōde is traditionally the first visit to a shrine of the New Year. The first wish of the year is made, and it is said that this very first wish is always granted by the gods. The entrance to Yasukuni Shrine is lined with the usual market of delicious smelling food. Something to tempt me on the way out, no doubt. After I make my wish, I take a wander around Yasukuni Shrine. This shrine is actually steeped in controversy. It houses the spirits of the people that died in combat as they fought for Japan in wars between 1867–1951. The shrine also honours the souls of dead war criminals. There is a museum here where you can read letters written by Kamikaze pilots, that were left for their loved ones before they died. After exploring the shrine, I decide to eat some sticks of fried cheese, and my favourite street food; strange looking but delicious yakisoba, layered in seaweed. ¥600 well spent. Free saké is also offered, with donations welcome. I wander through the markets in the shrine, and decide to purchase an omamori; a Japanese amulet sold at religious shrines. This talisman will be placed in my house, to give me good fortune and protection from evil spirits. Next, I pay ¥100 to receive my fortune. Unfortunately for me, my fortune is written in Japanese. I try to translate it myself, and I get the following message: “Whoever meets in this fortune is brought happiness that appeared by virtue of good people. I will be appearing, but the eye of devotion remains out of sight, like a ball hidden in the stone.” On the way out of the temple, a man dressed as a dragon tries to eat my head; apparently this creature can devour the evil spirits living inside of me, and cleanse my mind.
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