Japan Temples & Shrines

Japan Buddhist Temples & Shinto Shrines: Listing

Japan Temples & Shrines

Ichinomiya Shrine, Shikoku.
Japan Temples & Shrines

Japan has a wealth of religious architecture - Kyoto alone is estimated to have well over 2,000 temples and shrines. But it is not just in the large cities where the visitor will find Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines - nearly every village in Japan will have a local shrine or temple.

Most temples and shrines in Japan are free to enter but the more famous, historic temples will charge an admission fee for which you will receive entry and usally an explanatory leaflet in either Japanese or English.

Japanese temples usually close around 4pm or 5pm, though shrines often stay open around the clock.

Many temples and shrines in Japan are set in well-tended garden spaces and are often connected with local festivals and other events.

No visit to Japan would be complete without at least one visit to a Japanese temple or shrine.

Kyoto Temples

Daisen-in Temple.

Bukkoji Temple - is a Jodo Shinshu sect temple in the Gion district of central Kyoto.

Byodoin Temple - World Heritage Site - located in Uji south of Kyoto.

Chionin Temple - HQ of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism.

Chishakuin Temple - famous for its lovely gardens.

Daigoji Temple - World Heritage Site - established in the east of Kyoto in 874.

Daikakuji Temple - Shingon "Temple of the Great Science" with lovely lakeside location.

Daitokuji Temple - large Rinzai Zen temple complex with 22 sub-temples.

Eikando Temple - located in Higashiyama and known for its autumn leaves.

Enkoji Temple - small, delightful temple and garden in eastern Kyoto.

Enryakuji Temple - large temple complex located on the summit of Mt. Hiei.

Entsuji Temple - famous for its garden's use of "borrowed scenery."

Funda-in - or more commonly, Sesshuji, is a small sub-temple of Tofukuji, containing a garden by Sesshu.

Ginkakuji Temple - World Heritage Site - aka the Silver Pavilion and previously a villa of the shogun Yoshimasa.

Honen-in Temple - small, atmospheric temple near Philosopher's Walk.

Honnoji Temple - city center temple where warlord Oda Nobunaga met his end.

Jissoin Temple - Monzeki temple with a superb garden in the quiet suburb of Iwakura in north east Kyoto.

Joshoji Temple - a Nichiren temple in north west Kyoto associated with the famous Edo Period courtesan Yoshino Tayu.

Kenninji Temple - founded by Eisai in 1202 and the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.

Kinkakuji Temple - World Heritage Site - the Golden Pavilion and a Kyoto icon.

Kiyomizu Temple - World Heritage Site - Kyoto's most popular temple especially with young people.

Kodaiji Temple - a nunnery established by Kitano Mandokoro (Nene), the widow of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Kodaiji is illuminated after dark in spring, summer and fall.

Koetsuji Temple - a Nichiren temple in the Takagamine district of north west Kyoto associated with the Edo Period artist and tea master Koetsu Honami.

Kongoji Temple - a small Jodo-shu sect temple in the Okazaki district of Kyoto with its main hall dating from the Edo Period.

Koryuji Temple - World Heritage Site - established in the memory of Prince Shotoku.

Kozanji Temple - World Heritage Site - contains Japan's oldest tea field.

Kuginuki Jizo aka Shakuzoji Temple is dedicated to the relief of pain through the offering of a pair of pliers and two 8" nails.

Manpukuji Temple - founded by the Chinese priest Ingen and built in Ming style.

Manshuin Temple - Tendai-sect temple located in the Higashiyama district.

Myomanji Temple - peaceful temple with Indian-style pagoda.

Myoshinji Temple - large Zen temple with over 40 sub-temples.

The Temples of Kyoto.

Nanzenji Temple - Zen temple associated with vegetarian cuisine.

Ninnanji Temple - World Heritage Site - the "Temple of Benevolent Harmony."

Nishi & Higashi Honganji Temples - World Heritage Site - wealthy Jodo-Shinshu temples located near Kyoto Station.

Rokkakudo Temple - the spiritual home of ikebana in Japan.

Rokuharamitsuji Temple - founded in the 10th century by Kuya with a collection of Heian & Kamakura period images.

Rokuoin Temple - known for its fall leaves and shukubo lodgings for women only.

Rozanji Temple - situated near the Imperial Palace and hosts a setsubun festival in February with ogres.

Ryoanji Temple - World Heritage Site - the world's most famous Zen stone garden.

Saihoji Temple - World Heritage Site - aka the "Moss Temple."

Sanjusangendo Temple - known for its 1,001 wooden statues of Kannon.

Sanzen-in Temple - in the village of Ohara in north east Kyoto is known for the splendor of its gardens.

Sekizanzenin Temple - tranquil mountainside temple near Shugakuin Rikyu.

Sembon Shakado - dates from 1227 and the Main Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Kyoto.

Sennyuji Temple - is a large Shingon sect temple complex with imperial tombs close to Tofukuji.

Shisendo Hermitage - small Soto Zen sect temple in Higashiyama

Shokokuji Temple - Rinzai Zen temple near the Gosho and Doshisha University

Shoren-in Temple - Tendai sect temple famous for its gardens and giant camphor trees.

Tenryuji Temple - World Heritage Site - located in the Arashiyama district of western Kyoto.

Tofukuji Temple - one of the most important Zen temples in Kyoto.

Toji Temple - World Heritage Site - near Kyoto Station and known for its pagoda and monthly markets.

Tojiin Temple - pleasant temple near Ritsumeikan Kinugasa campus.

Yoshiminedera Temple - an historic mountain temple in south west Kyoto.

Kyoto Shrines

Fushimi Inari Shrine - known for its 1000s of torii gates.

Goryo Shrine - dedicated to the protection of the ancient capital.

Heian Shrine - Heian Shrine is a scaled-down reproduction of the original Imperial palace (Daigoku-den) built in 794.

Hirano Shrine - famous for its cherry blossoms in season.

Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine - is dedicated to Hachiman and has an interesting connection with Thomas Edison.

Kamigamo Shrine - World Heritage Site - sister shrine of Shimogamo Shrine.

Kawai Shrine - within the grounds of Shimogamo Shrine, is popular with women who come to pray for beauty.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine - is dedicated to Tenjin, the patron saint of students.

Kumano Shrine - founded in the 9th century by Nichiren.

Matsuo Taisha Shrine - known for its connection with sake and sake brewers.

Nashinoki Shrine - small shrine on the north east side of Kyoto Imperial Palace famous for its fresh water spring.

Shimogamo Shrine - World Heritage Site - sister shrine of Kamigamo Shrine and home of the Aoi Festival.

Shiramine Shrine is associated with the game of kemari and popular with soccer players of all levels.

Ujigami Shrine in Uji has the oldest known shrine building in Japan dating to the Heian Period.

Waratenjin - dedicated to safe child-birth.

Yasaka Shrine - popular shrine in Gion associated with the Gion matsuri and the area's geisha.

Yasui Konpira Shrine - known for its power stone and comb festival.

Ryoanji Temple, Zen Stone Garden, Kyoto.
Ryoanji Temple in western Kyoto is as iconic as Mt Fuji in Japan
Pagoda and Main Hall of Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo

Tokyo Temples

Eko-in Temple - the spiritual home of sumo in Ryogoku.

Enmeiji Temple - a small temple in the Minami-senju district of Tokyo located on the site of an Edo-era execution ground.

Gokokuji Temple - Edo Period temple connected with the Tokugawa clan.

Hakuun-san Torii Kannon is the center of a number of modern Buddhist sites near Hanno in Saitama prefecture.

Jyomyoin Temple in Yanaka is known for its thousands of statutes of Jizo.

Kita-in Temple Kawagoe - temple of the famous 500 rakan (arhats).

Komagatado Hall - has an intimate historical connection with Sensoji Temple nearby.

Sengakuji Temple - temple associated with the 47 Ronin story.

Sensoji Temple - historic temple in Asakusa.

Tokyo Top 10 Temples & Shrines - a listing of the best temples and shrines in the capital.

Toyokawa Inari Akasaka - is a Buddhist temple that venerates a Shinto deity, the fox god, or Inari.

Temples in Tokyo's Koenji district (Suginami ward) - temple listing in Koenji.

Yushima Seido - Confucian temple and educational establishment.

Zojoji Temple - impressive temple close to Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Shrines

Kanda Myojin - near Akihabara - is home to the Kanda matsuri, one of Tokyo's big three festivals.

Meiji Shrine - shrine set in huge grounds and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji.

Nezu Shrine - famous for its 1,000's of azaleas in May.

Yanagaimori Shrine - features numerous statues of tanuki, complete with bulging scrotum and belly.

Yasukuni Shrine - controversial shrine which enshrines Japan's war dead.

Yushima Tenmangu (Tenjin) - famous shrine for scholars.

Nara Temples & Shrines

Asukadera Temple in Asuka, Nara Prefecture is the oldest large scale temple in Japan and contains the country's oldest bronze statue.

Chuguji Temple - a nunnery, next door to Horyuji, and home to two National Treasures.

Gangoji Temple - was founded in Asuka and moved to Nara in 718 (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Hasedera Temple - is a large complex in the hills of Nara Prefecture known for its floral colors.

Hokiji Temple - Asuka era temple with original 3-story pagoda.

Hokkeji Temple - was established as a nunnery by the Empress Komyo in the 8th century.

Horinji Temple - small temple in the Ikaruga district with some superb Buddhist images on display in its Treasure House.

Horyuji Temple - home to some of the world's oldest wooden buildings.

Jokyoji Temple - is a Jodo Shinshu sect temple of Japanese Buddhism.

Kaidan-in - is part of Todaiji Temple and was Japan's first ordination hall for monks and nuns.

Kairyuoji Temple - dates from 731 and was built to protect the Heijo Palace from evil believed to emanate from the north east.

Kofukuji Temple - UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its ancient 5-story pagoda and priceless Buddhist statues.

Muroji Temple - an ancient seat of mystical power.

Okadera Temple - an ancient temple on a hill summit in Asuka.

Saidaiji Temple - the Great Western Temple and counterpart to Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple).

Sumo Shrine - the legendary birthplace of sumo in Japan.

Tachibanadera Temple - the supposed birthplace of Prince Shotoku Taishi.

Tanzan Shrine - is a mountain shrine in Sakurai known for its 13-story pagoda and spectacular fall colors.

Todaiji Temple - includes the world's largest wooden structure and the 15m bronze Daibutsu (Great Buddha), cast in 749: also the largest of its kind in the world.

Toshodaiji Temple - was founded by the Chinese monk Ganjin in 759 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Yakushiji Temple - is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its historic East Pagoda.

Kamakura Temples & Shrines

Engakuji Temple - was founded in 1282 for the repose of the souls of those killed in the attempted invasions of Japan by Kublai Khan in 1274 and 1281.

Hase-dera Temple -  hosts Japan's tallest wooden statue, the 9.3 meter (30 ft) statue of the 11-headed Kannon Goddess of Mercy.

Kosokuji Temple - a less-visited Nichiren sect temple famous for its lovely garden with various flowers in bloom throughout the year.

Kotoku-in Temple - is home to the Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha), constructed in 1252.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine - was founded in 1063 by Yoriyoshi Minamoto and is dedicated to the Minamoto clan's deity, Hachiman.

Chiba Temples

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple - very large, ancient temple near Narita Internaional Airport.

Saitama Shrines

Mitsumine Shrine - the wolf kami are believed to protect from fire and theft.

Shinmeisha Shrine - Tokorozawa shrine famous for its doll burning ceremony.

Yasukuni Shrine entrance, Tokyo, Japan
Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a controversial shrine that enshrines Japan's war dead
Komyozenji Temple garden, Fukuoka Prefecture
Komyozenji Temple's front garden is a dry stone Zen garden, the rocks of which spell out the character for light

Kawasaki Temples & Shrines

Kawasaki Daishi Temple (Heiken-ji) - dedicated to the founder of Shingon Buddhism - Kukai.

Shimane Temples & Shrines

Gakuenji Temple - ancient 7th century temple.

Ichibata Yakushi Temple - temple dedicated to prayer for the cure of eye diseases.

Izumo Taisha - is Japan's second most important shrine after Ise.

Taikodani Inari Shrine is the 5th largest Inari shrine in Japan.

Nagano Temples & Shrines

Suwa Taisha Grand Shrine - located close to Lake Suwa and one of the oldest shrines in Japan.

Zenkoji Temple - Nagano's most important temple.

Osaka Temples & Shrines

Isshinji Temple - a resting place for the ashes of Osakans who cannot afford a personal grave.

Shitennoji Temple - Japan's oldest state temple founded by Prince Shotoku.

Sumiyoshi Taisha - a 3rd century shrine in Osaka dedicated to sailors and seafarers.

Hiroshima Temples

Fudoin Temple survived the atomic bomb and some of its buildings date back to the 16th century.

Mitaki-dera Temple ("Three Waterfalls Temple") in Hiroshima Prefecture is an historic Shingon-sect temple dating back to the year 809.

The Onomichi Temple Walk includes 25 Buddhist temples that are linked on the route.

The Hiroshima Peace Pagoda, on a hill overlooking the city, was built in 1966, and has become another symbol of the city.

Izu Temples

Shuzenji Temple - supposedly founded by Kukai in 807.

Sado & Niigata Temples

Saishoji Temple - the resting place of a 600 year-old mummified monk.

Temples on Sado Island - see a listing of some of Sado's most historic temples.

Fukui Temples & Shrines

Eiheiji Temple - Eiheiji is one of Japan's most famous temples - an active training center of Soto Zen Buddhism in Fukui Prefecture.

Fukuoka Temples & Shrines

Shofuku-ji Temple - the beginnings of Zen in Japan.

Kaidan-in - a Nara Period ordination hall that was originally part of Kanzeonji Temple.

Kushida Shrine - hosts the Yamakasa Gion Matsuri, the biggest festival in Fukuoka.

Komyozenji Temple Dazaifu - Rinzai Zen temple.

Nanzoin Reclining Buddha - said to be the world's biggest bronze statue.

Umi Hachimangu Shrine - connected with the Ojin Legend.

Nagasaki Temples & Shrines

Sofukuji Temple - Ming Dynasty Chinese temple.

Suwa Shrine - home to the Kunchi Festival.

Confucius Shrine - built in 1893 by Chinese residents of Nagasaki.

Kofukuji Temple - the first Chinese temple built in Nagasaki.

Shofukuji & Fukusaiji Temples Nagasaki - two important and historic temples in Nagasaki.

Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Shikoku Pilgrimage - Japan's best-known pilgrimage route.

Ryozenji Temple - temple number one on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, the very popular circular pilgrimage route that visits 88 temples connected to the famous saint-monk Kobo Daishi.

Gokurakuji Temple - temple number two on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Konsenji Temple - temple number three on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Dainichiji Temple - temple number four on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Jizoji Temple - temple number five on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Anrakuji Temple - temple number six on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Jurakuji Temple - temple number seven on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Kumadaniji Temple - temple number eight on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Horinji Temple - temple number nine on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Kirihataji Temple - temple number ten on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Fujiidera Temple - temple number eleven on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Shosanji Temple - temple number twelve on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Dainichiji Temple - temple number thirteen on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Jorakuji Temple - temple number fourteen on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Kokubunji Temple - temple number fifteen on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Kannonji Tokushima - temple number sixteen on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Idoji Temple - temple number seventeen on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Yakuoji Temple - temple number 23 on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

Yamaguchi Temples & Shrines

Tokoji Temple Hagi - family temple of the once-ruling Mori clan.

Kumamoto Shrines

Kumamoto Shrines - see a shrine listing.

Okayama Temples & Shrines

Iyama Hofuku-ji Temple - connected with the life of the artist Sesshu.

Kibitsu & Kibitsuhiko Shrines enshrine the kami of a prince sent to the area to quell a legendary demon.

Saidaiji Kannon-in - host to the annual Naked Festival in February when 10,000 men and boys jostle for possession of two lucky wooden sticks.

Saijo Inari Okayama - one of the 3 great Inari shrines in Japan.

Kyushu Shrines

Terukuni Shrine - in Kagoshima enshrines the 28th Lord of Satsuma, Shimazu Nariakira.

Read a listing of the most important shrines in Kyushu.

Shimenawa sacred rope and stairs to Kitaoka Shrine in Kumamoto.
Shimenawa sacred rope and stairs to Kitaoka Shrine in Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture

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