The Osaki Hachimangu Shrine is located in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. The shrine is built in the typical gongenzukuri style of architecture, and is designated as a national treasure. Lacquer and whitewash were employed both in the interior and exterior to create gorgeous decorations.
Dewa Sanzan, the three mountains of Dewa, are sacred mountains in Yamagata Prefecture. The three mountains of Dewa are consists of Haguro-san (419 meters), Gassan (1980 m) and Yudono-san (1504 m) with its own shrines: Haguro-san Shrine, Gassan Shrine, and Yudono-san Shrine referred to as the Dewa Sanzan shrines. Haguro-san Shrine features a five-storied pagoda which was designated as a National Treasure.
The deities of all the three mountains also hold at the main shrine Sanjin Gosaiden, hall of the three, on the Haguro-san which is open year around, while the Gassan and Yudono-san shrines are not accessible when the snows are piled up during the winter months.
The Sanjin Gosaiden is 28.2 meters tall, 26 meters wide, with the thatched roof over 2 meters thick which makes the thickest thatched roof in Japan.
Uesugi Shrine was built on the site of the Yonezwa castle's former ground, which was demolished in 1873. The shrine is dedicated to Uesugi Kenshin who ruled the Echigo Province of Niigata Prefecture. He was one of the most notable warrior in the Japanese history for his significant military expertise and his honorable conduct on the battlefield.
The shrine is surrounded by lovely parks, where bridges cross over a moat filled with koi fish(Japanese carp) and a range of flora abounds. It attracts visitors not only to admire the 200 cherry trees which blossom each spring, but also to celebrate New Year, weddings and the newborn of the babies.
It is about 3km away from Yonezawa Station to the shrine.
Nikko is known for its natural beauty such as Nikko National Park, Kegon waterfall, Lake Chuzenji, and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Observe the intricate craftsmanship and enriching details at Nikko Toshogu Shine. You can also enjoy Kinugawa Onsen in combination with the historical tourist spots in Nikko.
Sensoji Temple is the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo originally built in the 7th Century. The temple complex composes of two main gates, the approach, the 5-storied pagoda and the main hall. This temple is dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and it welcomes millions of people visiting every year. The main entrance of the temple, so-called Kaminari-mon (literally “thunder gate”) with giant red and black lantern leads to the Asakusa Nakamise, a shopping street where sells variety of Japanese souvenirs and food.
Kotoku-in is a Buddhist temple located in Kamakura, a seaside town in the south of Tokyo in Kanagawa prefecture. The bronzed Great Buddha of Kamakura sits in the ground of Kotoku-in Temple, which is one of the iconic landmarks of Kamakura. This gigantic Buddha statue is 13.35 meters tall and weighing 121 tons, making it the second largest Buddha Statue in Japan after the Buddha statue in Nara. The statue remains outdoor after the temple halls were repeatedly demolished by typhoons, tsunami and earthquakes.
Shokoji Temple was originally founded by a monk Rennyo in 1471, and it was moved to its current location in Takaoka city in 1584 by Toshinaga Maeda, a lord of Kaga(Kanazawa) Domain. The temple features a main hall adorned with gold, intricate transom carvings, and lattice ceiling painted with bright chrysanthemum patterns. Its twelve building complex, including the main hall, audience hall, and study hall, are all designated as Important Cultural Properties in 2022. It is one of the surviving Buddhist temples, which mimicked building style from Chinese Song Dynasty architecture.
Oyama Shrine was designated as an important cultural asset because of the unique architecture of its main gate . It was designed by a Dutch architect using elements of European and Asian religious themes. The first story of the gate displays a mixture of Japanese and Chinese influence, while the upper level was decorated with a Dutch stained glass window, which was once served as a lighthouse.
The shrine is attached with a Japanese garden and a biwa-shaped pond. It is located near Kenrokuen and the Kanazawa Castle, which can easily be visited while you are in the area.
From and To
Nagano / Matsumoto / Karuizawa / Hakuba / Kamikochi
Suwa Grand Shrine
Located at the Nagano Prefecture, Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine) is one of oldest and most important shrines in Japan. It consists of four shrine complexes that include the Maemiya (old shrine), Honmiya (main shrine), Harumiya (spring shrine) and Akimiya (autumn shrine) scattered at the north and south of Lake Suwa.
Each of the shrines has four huge fir tree pillars acting as shrine markings.These 16 pillars are associated with the Onbashira Festival held once every six years when the trees are felled and the logs are transported to the shrine buildings.
From and To
Izu Peninsula / Hamamatsu / Shizuoka / Gotemba Premium Outlets
Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha
Located in the city of Fujinomiya, Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha is the most important Shinto shrine in the region which worships the God of Mt. Fuji for protection from volcanic eruptions. It serves as the head shrine among 1300 subsidiary shrines throughout the country. A detached rear shrine (okumiya) is erected at the summit of Mt. Fuji which encompasses the entire summit including the crater and all of the land above the 8th Station. The shrine holds large ceremonies in early July and September to open and close the
climbing season of Mt. Fuji.
The Ise Grand Shrine, located in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, is one of the most sacred Shinto shrine in Japan dating back to the 3rd century. The shrine consists of two main buildings: Naiku( the Inner Shrine) dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami and Geku( the Outer Shrine) dedicated to the food goddess Toyouke no Omikami. Ise complex houses 125 different shrines, centered around Naiku spreading across an area which is roughly the same size as Paris.
Ise Grand Shrine’s buildings are constructed in called, yuitsu shinmei zukuri style, which was introduced to the country via the Silk Road, and the design is modelled on the rice granaries. The Shrine owns 5,500 hectares of natural forest, and cypress trees have been planted there for the future harvest as construction material.
Kyoto was the ancient capital of Japan for about 1,000 years until the capital was transferred to Tokyo in 1868. It boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites including several castles, over 1,700 Buddhist temples and over 800 Shinto shrines.
Kyoto is the best place to experience the world of ancient Japan with abundant Japanese gardens, Japanese-style inns, and prewar buildings.
Amanohashidate is a pine covered sandbar in Miyazu Bay which divides the bay into two halves. It forms part of the Tango-Amanohashidate Oeyama Quasi National Park. It is also known as one of the Japan’s Three Scenic Views. Viewing from the mountains at either end of the bay, the sandbar looks like a pathway between heaven and earth, that's how its name in Japanese "bridge in heaven" originated. Several other attractions can be explored in the area, like temples, shrine and a small amusement park.
With over 1800 years of history, Ikuta Shrine is said to be one of the oldest shrines in Japan. It enshrines Wakahirume-no-Mikoto, the goddess of fabric who is believed of bringing people together and making good connections, just in the same way that two threads are entwined together. The shrine is a power spot
for love and relationships where local people hold important ceremonies like wedding and coming of the age days in the shrine. The Shrine is like an oasis in a metropolis. It is surrounded by a small forest and waterfall which makes it a serene place though sitting in the busiest district at the heart of Kobe.
Nara,located less than an hour away from Osaka and Kyoto, became the capital of Japan in 710 known as Heijo-kyo, and flourished as the administrative, political and cultural center until 784. Heijo-kyo was Japan’s first cosmopolitan city that modeled after the Palace of Tang Dynasty China. In 1998, eight historic monuments of the Nara period were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage sites, making Nara one of the best city to get a taste of the ancient Japan with temples, shrines and palace.
The Kumano area is located in the southern area of the Wakayama and Mie prefectures in the southeastern part of the Kii Peninsula. Kumano kodo is one of only two pilgrimage routes lead to holy Kumano Sanzan, three grand shrines in Kumano area, registered as a World Heritage Site in 2004.
Koyasan is a sacred Shingon Buddhist temple complex on the beautiful forested Kii Peninsula, more than 800 meters above sea level, founded by the high priest Kukai, posthumously known as Kobo Daishi. Koyasan boasts abundant nature, hundreds of temples and temple gardens.
Okunoin Temple located at Mount Koya in Wakayama prefecture is the largest graveyard in Japan. Crossing the Ichinohashi bridge will take you to the entrance into the forest that surrounds the cemetery. There are over 200,000 tombstones including mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, who was the founder of Shingon Buddhism and famous feudal lords such as Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen, and Date Masamune.
Over the past twelve centuries, the complex has grown to over 100 temples, and Mt. Koya has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Nestled in cedar forest, the OKunoin temple retains tranquil atmosphere and you can immerse yourself in the clear mountain air.
Asuka Shrine is situated at the foot of Mt. Horai and at the mouth of the Kumano River, which runs along the prefectural border between Wakayama Prefecture and Mie Prefecture. According to the shrine, it was constructed in 423 BC, which makes its shrine oldest one in the Kumano pregion in Wakayama. Moreover, Asuka shrine is associated with the three Grand shrines of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage: Kumano Hayatama Taisha in Shingu, Kumano Nachi Taisha in Nachi, and Kumano Hongu Taisha in Hongu.
Its main hall is outstanding vermillion-lacquered with straw barrels of sake piled up orderly. The shrine itself is compact and it is 10 minutes walk from JR Shingu/Shingu bus stop. Registered as a World Heritage site in 2016, a number of people constantly come visit the shrine every year.
You will encounter Jofuku Park with an imposing Chinese-style entrance-gate on the way to the Asuka Shrine, which is dedicated to Jofuku, a Chinese scholar who came to Japan on the order of Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang to find the elixir of life.
Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima known for its vermilion floating torii gate. Back in the 12th century, a powerful ruler of Japan named “Taira no Kiyomori” constructed Itsukushima Shrine, and its complex has designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996.
The five story pagoda enshrined at Rurikoji is the icon of Yamaguchi and designated as a national treasure. This beautiful spiritual temple can be enjoyed at different times of a day, throughout the year. During day time, a true sense of tranquility can be felt with mountain and garden set against as a backdrop. The scenery becomes particularly impressive with seasonal plants of cherry and maple leaves. The atmosphere changes when the pagoda is lit up at the evening casting a beautiful reflection over the pond.
Unrinji Temple is about 30 minutes away from Hagi’s city center located in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Unrinji Temple literally means “clouded forest temple,” and it’s also known as the Cat Temple. As you step up to Unrinji Temple’s gate, you will be greeted by a group of carved wooden cats. Its shrine features a huge variety of cat-themed artwork including 800 cat statues created by the Yamaguchi-based chainsaw artist.
The temple enshrines Japanese feudal lord, Mori Terumoto (1553–1625), who built the Hiroshima Castle.
Dazaifu Tenmangu is a shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane (845–903), a scholar, poet and politician. The main shrine was built in 905 over Michizane's grave yard, two years after his death to comfort his sprit.
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is located about 250 meters from Dazaifu Station, and the entire length of the approach is lined with shops and restaurants selling Umegae mochi, a grilled azuki bean paste stamped with the motif of a plum tree flower.
This shrine is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Fukuoka, especially among students praying for success in exams and academic achievement.
Since the Michizane was fond of plum trees, you will find 6000 plum blossoms burst into bloom from late January to early March around the shrine.
Shurijo Castle sits on a small hill top overlooking Naha city, surrounded by curving stone walls has registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. The castle was believed to have been built in the 14th century by the first Ryukyu King, Sho Hashi (1372–1439). Influenced by the trade networks with China, Taiwan, and the Korean Peninsula helped to create its distinct architectural style and colorful vibe. The vermilion-colored castle with beautiful gold crafts stands out clearly against the blue sky in a photo on a clear day.
Shurijo played an important role in politics, diplomacy, and culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Shurijo Castle symbolizes the history and culture of Okinawa, and it attracts many visitors not only from Japan, but also from overseas.
The fire broke out in 2019 unfortunately destroyed a large portion of the castle compound including the main buildings.
It has said that the reconstruction of the entire buildings will be completed by 2026.