Most Beautiful Temples in Tokyo

| © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Laura Walkley

Shinto and Buddhist temples are important parts of Tokyo’s landscape and are a must-do cultural and spiritual experience for any visitor to Japan‘s capital city. While it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo life, visiting a temple can be a very calming and valuable life experience that travelers are sure to take something from.

1. Sensoji Temple

Buddhist Temple

Worshippers in front of votive box at Senso-ji Temple, Shitamachi, Tokyo
© Judy Bellah / Alamy Stock Photo
Located on the east end of Tokyo, Sensoji is one of the oldest temples in the city. Its grandeur makes for beautiful photos and the whole site has a buzzing and infectious atmosphere. There are dozens of stalls selling traditional food and trinkets dotted around it, while inside, travelers will find a gorgeous five-tiered pagoda and oodles of oracles, charging just a small sum to reveal future fortunes.

2. Meiji Shrine

Shinto Shrine

People standing outside the wooden Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
© Chris Bull / Alamy Stock Photo
Perhaps the most well known temple in all of Tokyo, the Meiji Shrine is surrounded by park lands in the west-central portion of the city. The Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, and houses fascinating memorabilia relating to the couple. It’s construction was started in 1915, after approval from the Japanese government, and a large-scale public building effort ensued. Later, the spot was totally destroyed in World War II, only to be reconstructed in 1958. To date, the spot has also hosted countless VIPs and heads of state from across the globe.

3. Zojoji Temple

Buddhist Temple

Japan, Tokyo City, Mamamatsucho area, Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Overflowing with the history of Tokyo, Zojoji Temple is neighbors with the Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park. Today, what is left of the temple is well worth the visit, and not only because six of the 15 Tokugawa Shoguns are buried in the tombs here. Aside from the great sepulchres, there is also the fascinating and sobering Garden of Unborn Children to see – a monument to miscarried and stillborn pregnancies – and a smattering of truly elegant structures dating from the 16th century.

4. Tennoji Temple

Buddhist Temple

Japanese stone lantern decorated with wave patterns in the stone garden of the Tennoji temple in Yanaka cemetery in Tokyo.
© CLEMENT CAZOTTES / Alamy Stock Photo
Set within a huge cemetery lined with cherry trees, the beautiful location of this temple alone makes it well worth a visit. At over 800 years old, the beautifully landscaped surroundings here complement the marvelous Tennoji Temple itself, and make it a very tranquil place amidst sprawling, bustling Tokyo. Also of note is the looming statue of the Buddha; cast in bronze, oversized and melding perfectly with the serenity of the environs.

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