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The shrines and temples of Tokyo attract thousands of visitors each year. While many have been rebuilt since their founding due to fire, earthquakes or war, they still retain their splendour. Here are six of the best.
The iconic red Kanda Shrine, also known as Kanda Myojin, has played an important role in Tokyo Shinto worship since the Edo Period. The shrine is situated in downtown Chiyoda-ku, and the kami (spirits) enshrined here include two of the Seven Gods of Fortune, making this an ideal place to pray for wealth and success in business. Interestingly, due to its proximity to Akihabara, Kanda Shrine has also become popular with the tech crowd, who purchase charms to ward off damages to their electronics.
The Imperial Shrine of Yasukuni honours the souls of those who lost their lives in war while fighting for Japan. Unfortunately, the shrine-war memorial has become a source of controversy, especially among neighbouring Asian countries, since many of those enshrined and honoured here are listed as Class-A war criminals. For instance, Justin Bieber was forced to apologise to Chinese fans after posting a picture of himself visiting the controversial memorial. Despite this, Yasukuni Shrine plays host to multiple religious and festival occasions throughout the year, including an annual spring festival and Mitama Festival, where visitors come to pray to their lost relatives and friends.
Nestled among the lush greenery and landscaped water features of Inokashira Park lies the Benzaiten Shrine, a small red Shinto shrine devoted to the goddess of the same name who is the deity of everything that flows, including knowledge, water and music. Benzaiten, adapted from the Hindu goddess known as Saraswati, is recognised in both the Buddhist and Shinto faiths. The Inokashira also plays host to the famous Ghibli Museum that showcases Japanese animation.