Known as the “Land of the Rising Sun“, Japan is a fascinating and intriguing tourist destination with a large variety of majestic historical temples. From Shinto shrines to Buddhist temples, the country has countless temples to offer its visitors. In fact, Kyoto, a city in Japan, has more than 2,000 shrines and temples. In addition, most of these temples are national treasures and UNESCO World Heritage.
Obviously, selecting the best temples to visit in this beautiful East Asian destination is no easy task at all. With so many temples available, finding the right temples to visit in the country will require a lot of time and effort on your part. But luckily, we have compiled a list that will help you discover Japan’s best and most famous temples and shrines.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tokyo is a vibrant city known for its high skyscrapers and exciting nightlife. Ironically, one of its main tourist attractions is an idyllic, serene temple located in the heart of the city. Set in the middle of a rich forest, the Meiji Jingu Shrine is surrounded by a large number of giant evergreen trees that block the sounds coming from the city. In addition to its picturesque atmosphere, the shrine is also famous for its exquisite architecture, as well as for its collection of exhibits believed to be the personal belongings of Empress Shoken and Emperor Meiju.
Temple of Kamakura Hasedera
The Temple of Kamakura Hasedera is a beautiful temple widely known for housing Japan’s largest wooden image, the Kanoon of Mercy. At 30 feet high, the Kanoon of Mercy is truly a sight to behold in Japan. In addition, it has thousands of beautiful and charming statues.
The Sensoji Temple, or also known as the Asakusa Temple, is a historic Buddhist temple built in the early parts of the 7th century. One of Tokyo’s main tourist attractions, Senosji Temple is one of the city’s oldest and most beloved temples. Here, you can see a giant pagoda that will definitely leave you speechless.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the Horyuji Temple, also known as the “Temple of Blossoming Law“, houses a 32-meter wooden pagoda, which is the oldest wooden structure in the world. In addition to the pagoda, it also houses more than 2,000 historical and cultural items and structures, including more than 100 important cultural properties and national treasures.
Temple of Kiyomizu
In 2007, the Kyoto Temple of Kiyomizu was nominated as one of the contenders for the New 7 Wonders of the World. Unfortunately, it was not chosen as one of the top 7 sites. However, it is an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site with a very romantic atmosphere. In addition, the temple offers panoramic views and panoramic views of Kyoto.
Built during the Edo Period by the rulers and lords of Maeda, the Myoryuji Temple is a fascinating and intriguing temple not to be missed during your trip to Japan. Although the temple is not associated with ninjas and murderers, it earned the nickname “Ninja Temple” due to its secret chambers, traps, trap doors, hidden stairs, and other deceptive defenses.
Temple of Kotokuin
The temple of Kotokuin is home to the world-famous Kamakura Daibutsu, an imposing bronze statue of Buddha. With an impressive height of 40 feet, this bronze statue is the second tallest statue or figure of Buddha in the country. As national treasures, the Buddha statue and Kotokuin temple have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Situated on Mount Zozu, the Kotohiragu Shrine has a challenging course with more than 700 granite steps. However, it attracts a bunch of tourists every day, who wish to experience its peaceful surroundings, as well as take photographs of its exquisite architectural design that exhibits a unique blend of Buddhist and Shinto elements.
Home to the country’s largest Buddha statue, Todaiji Temple is one of Japan’s main tourist attractions. While not as dramatic and impressive as Kamakura Daibutsu, its large size makes it a favorite attraction in Nara.
Located in a green forest, the Toshogu Sanctuary is a luxurious complex consisting of more than a dozen beautiful buildings. Here, you can delight your eyes with charming woodcarvings with wood charm and a host of Buddhist and Shinto decorations.