With so many shrines and temples in Japan there is certainly a lot to see. But if you are going to travel to Japan as a tourist you certainly have to choose a limited number of places to visit. Here I wrote a list of the 10 shrines and temples that you must visit.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
It is the best known shrine in Tokyo, not only for its beauty, but also for its size. It has an area of more than 2.5 square kilometers. Of course the construction takes up less space, the rest of the areas are forests. The sanctuary has a tea house and lily garden, two museums, a water well and much more.
It is the oldest temple in Tokyo, located in a traditional area of Japan, and its surroundings exemplify the traditional urban landscape of Tokyo. Its design and structures are so popular that they have become an icon of Japanese culture in the rest of the world. More than just a temple, Sensoji is home to a local market, the five-story pagoda, and many shrines around it.
Located in Kamakura, it is home to the Great Buddha, the second largest bronze image in Japan, dating from the 13th century and found on the outside of the temple. The face of the Buddha expresses serenity and compassion.
Hase Kannon Temple
This temple is located in Kamakura, and is famous for its 30-foot-high Kannon of Mercy. This image is the largest wood carved sculpture in Japan. Hase Kannon is also known for its small statues of Jizo, guardian and deity of children, which were donated by parents of children who were aborted or stillborn. It’s a bit of a strange sight.
This shrine is located in Nikko, and is dedicated to the most powerful shogun that ever lived, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The sanctuary is considered a world heritage site, and it is the most elaborate and opulent sanctuary, containing more than 2.4 million sheets of gold leaf. It is located within a national park that has a cedar forest.
This temple located in Kyoto is one of the best known in all of Japan, and its design was imitated by minor temples around Tokyo. It is located on the top of a hill that has a panoramic view of Kyoto. The road to the site has several pottery and souvenir shops, and has several open-air pavilions, where you can have beer or eat noodles. You can also visit the Jishu Shrine that is located nearby. It is dedicated to the god of love.
This building is also located in Kyoto, and it is a gigantic wooden building. It houses more than a thousand wood carved statues of the Kannon of Mercy.
Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
Also located in Kyoto, this temple was built in the 14th century as a retreat estate for the shoguns, and consists of a three-story pavilion covered in gold leaf and decorated with bronze.
This Nara temple has the largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. It is also the largest wooden structure in the world. It is the main tourist spot in Nara, an ancient capital of Japan. Although it is not as impressive as the Big Buddha statue in Kamakura, the size of the Todaiji Temple and its Buddha is a must-see tourist spot if you are in the Kansai region.
It is also found in Nara. Despite the fact that Todaiji has the largest Buddha, people who are really looking for the art and history of Buddhism should head to the Horyuji Temple, which houses many ancient buildings and Buddhist treasures.