While Tokyo's shrines and temples don't compare to those of Kyoto, there are some great ones in the city. Here's a one-day itinerary based on Tokyo's temples and shrines.
Sensoji Temple: pptadd / Shutterstock.com
Tokyo Temple And Shrine Itinerary Summary
- This one-day itinerary includes temples and shrines in Asakusa, Kagurazaka, Kudanshita, Harajuku and Roppongi.
Tokyo Temple And Shrine Full Itinerary
- 9:00: Head up to Asakusa and visit the bustling Senso-ji Temple, the most popular Buddhist temple in the city. After visiting the temple, step next door for a quick look at Asakusa-jinja Shrine.
- 10:30am: Take the Ginza and Toei Oedo subway lines (change at Ueno-Hirokoji) to Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station and get off to explore Zenkoku-ji Temple, another superb and popular temple.
- 11:30am: Take the Toei Oedo subway line and Tozai subway line (change at Iidabashi) and get off at Kudanshita to explore Yasukuni-jinja Shrine, Japan's most controversial Shinto shrine. Be sure to visit the adjoining Yushukan Museum, which presents the Japanese nationalist view of history.
- 1:00pm: Take the Hanzomon subway line from Kudanshita Station to Omote-Sando Station and get off. Eat lunch somewhere in Harajuku. After lunch, walk up Omotesando at visit the sprawling grounds of Meiji-jingu Shrine, which is easily Tokyo's most impressive Shinto shrine.
- 3:30pm: By this time, you'll probably have had enough of temples and shrines. But, if you're still keen, jump on the Chiyoda subway line at Meijijingumae-Harajuku Station and take it two stops west to Nogizaka Station and get off to take a peek at Nogi-jinja Shrine (be warned, it closes at 5pm). This puts you in a good position to walk down into Roppongi, where you can choose from a huge selection of restaurants for dinner.
Tokyo Temples vs Kyoto Temples
- As mentioned in the introduction to this itinerary, Tokyo's temples and shrines aren't as impressive or beautiful as those of Kyoto. Most of Tokyo's temples and shrines were destroyed by aerial bombing in WWII, while those of Kyoto survived. Thus, if you plan to visit Kyoto on your trip, there's no need to go out of your way to see temples and shrines in Tokyo. If you are going to Kyoto, I'd suggest only visiting Asakusa's Senso-ji Temple and Harajuku's Meiji-jingu Shrine while in Tokyo.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get essential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)