In Japan, both Buddhism and Shinto are a deeply ingrained part of culture and life. With one of the richest and most profound histories in the world, the temples in Japan are an essential part of everyday life. For visitors to Japan, visiting temples and shrines is an important look into history and a way to understand both religious aspects of life and culture. There are endlessly stunning and meaningful shrines throughout the country, here is a look at 5 of the most beautiful shines in Japan.
Arguably one of the most well-known and famous shrines not only in Japan but around the world, Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most beautiful shrines in Japan. Located in Kyoto, Fushimi Inara is known for the tens of thousands of torii gates which lead up to the shrine, and the scenic mountain hike. Beyond the iconic red gates, the Fushimi Inari is also known for the foxes. Due to a large number of crowds, both locals and tourists alike, Fushimi Inari can be very busy but is worth hiking the approximately 4 km hike to the top, where space is much quieter and less crowded. A site not to be missed, the Fushimi Inara Shrine has been a spot of worship for some 1300 years.
68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan
Kumano Nachi Taisha
A UNESCO World-Heritage Site and notably one of the Pilgrimage routes in the Kii mountains of Japan, Kumano Nachi is a Shinto shrine, and one of the most beautiful shrines in Japan. One of three Kumano Shrines, it is found in the Kumano region, more specifically in Katsuura. Kumano Nachi is also close to Seigantoji and Nachi Taisha, one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in Japan. Kumano Nachi is worthy of a visit and provides a meaningful look into the combination of both Shinto and Buddhist influences.
1 Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama 649-5301, Japan
Instagram and photo-worthy, the Chureito Pagoda is likely one of the most beautiful shrines in Japan and attracts many tourists eager to get the ideal photo. With iconic Mount Fuji as the backdrop, the Pagoda faces the notable peak and is found in Arakurayama Sengen Park. It takes approximately 400 steps to reach the top but is worth the trek for the view from the top. Worth heading out early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and to enjoy one of the best views in all of Japan.
3360-1 Arakura, Fujiyoshida 403-0011, Yamanashi Prefecture
Kinkakuji, The Golden Pavillion
One of the most visited and popular temples in Japan, Kinkaku-ji, also referred to as Rokuon-ji is a stunningly beautiful golden temple in Kyoto. A Zen Buddhist temple overlooking a mirror pond, surrounded by a striking Japanese strolling garden. Easily one of the most beautiful shrines in Japan, it is also one of the most famous. Kinkakuji is a National Special Historic Site as well as a National Special Landscape, and preservation of history. The original purpose for the building was to serve the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu for his retirement in 1397. Later it was turned into a Zen temple (1408). Due to the popularity of this shrine, it also advisable to visit early to avoid crowds and enjoy a tranquil walk throughout the grounds.
1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan
Found in eastern Kyoto, Kiyomizudera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Dating back to 780, the Buddhist temple is built on the Otowa Waterfall and is known not only for the temple but the wooden balcony that juts out over the falls. Kiyomizudera translates to Pure Water Temple, and the name is in relation to the stunning waterfalls. Beyond the falls, the view from the overview showcases
Cherry blossoms and maple trees as well as the city of Kyoto. Kiyomizudera is not only one of the most beautiful shrines in Japan, but it is also one of the best places to visit during cherry blossom season.
294 Tatsumicho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan