Temples & Shrines: Yasukuni
Yasukuni Shrine 靖国神社
Yasukuni Shrine is adjacent to Kitanomaru Park, north west of the Imperial Palace.
Yasukuni Shrine was founded in 1869 to honor the men who fell in the Boshin War that restored the Meiji Emperor to power in 1868-9. Since then Yasukuni has expanded to include the war dead of all Japan's subsequent conflicts and now the names, or the Shrine would say "souls", of over 2.5 million fallen are enshrined here.
The shrine became controversial when Japan's wartime leader General Hideki Tojo and 13 other Class-A war criminals (found guilty by the victorious allied forces after World War II) were enshrined here in 1979.
Subsequent visits by Japanese prime ministers and other politicians continue to enrage Japan's Asian neighbors and Yasukuni has become something of a mecca for Japan's right wing. The grounds of the shrine contain an interesting, modern war museum which puts a different spin on Japan's conduct in the Pacific War.
Entrance to the shrine is through a massive gray, metal torii gate, said to be the tallest in the country at 22m (72 feet) and a stately avenue of cherry and ginkgo trees.
Yasukuni plays host to an annual exhibition sumo tournament at its spring festival April 21-3 and there is an autumn festival October 17-19.
The shrine grounds also contain Japan's first Western-style bronze statue, that of Omura Masujiro, the first Minister of War after the Meiji Restoration, which was erected in 1896. Also of note are two huge stone lanterns - Japan's largest - built in 1935 which honor the Army and Navy respectively.
The Yushukan War Memorial Museum, on the grounds of Yasukuni Shrine, is a modern military museum dedicated to Japan's armed forces since the start of the Meiji Period, when a national military began to fight in wars on the Asian continent.
War Museum at Yasukuni Shrine
Kudanshita Station (Toei Shinjuku, Tozai, Hanzomon Subway Lines).
Video Tour of Yasukuni Shrine Part 2
Book Hotel Accommodation in Tokyo Near Yasukuni