13 Best Temples in Tokyo in 2021
As we have established, Tokyo is a city rich in culture and tradition that cannot be experienced elsewhere. People from all around the world travel to Japan to embrace themselves into the different tradition each city offers.
Tokyo is a city that holds various historic treasures with multiple temples scattered around the city. These temples are often dated back to the Edo period or even beyond that. So, if you are looking to embrace yourself in Japanese history involving with Buddhism, we have a list of the Top 13 Must Visit Temples in Tokyo.
1. Jorenji Temple
At Jorenji Temple, located in the suburban Itabashi City, there is the third largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. As you walk in, you can see a large bronze Buddha seated on the pedestal, measuring over 13 metres in height, and weighing at 32 tonnes. The statue was built in 1977 and has been selected as one of the 100 Views of New Tokyo. Apart from the famous statue, Jorenji is a beautiful temple in itself, the temple was found at the beginning of the 15th century and has gained popularity over time. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery that will bring peace and calmness to your soul.
2. Gokokuji Temple
Gokokuji is a large Buddhist temple located right next to the Gokokuji Station. It is a beautiful wooden temple that was built in 1681 by the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in honour of his mother. Despite its beautiful structure and history, Gokokuji is a fairly quiet temple that does not receive a lot of attention from tourists. For this reason, this temple is a perfect spot if you are seeking to spend your peaceful afternoon away from the hustle bustle of Tokyo. Apart from the main temple, the grounds hold a large cemetery with stone pathways, a Buddha statue, and a small pagoda.
3. Joshinji Temple
Joshinji is a relatively large Jodo Buddhist temple, a 3-minute walk from Kuhonbutsu Station. It is the home of the three Buddha Halls which are located at the front of the main hall. Joshinji Temple is a huge complex of several halls dating back to 1678. This temple is filled with history tracing back to many periods, the temple main hall is designated as a national cultural treasure as it was originally hand constructed by the monks. Apart from the temple, there is also a beautiful Japanese garden with a small pond located within the temple ground.
4. Koganji Temple
A beautiful Buddhist temple located closely to a busy shopping street, the Koganji Temple is dated back to the late 19th century. It is famously known for Togenuki Jizo, which promises healing powers for those who visit. Although the temple itself is fairly new, the story of Togenuki Jizo can be traced back slightly further, it is believed that the water which flows opposite his statue can give healing powers when poured onto those with illness.
5. Fukagawa Fudodo
Fukagawa Fudodo has a unique structure and exterior, located in Koto City. It is famous for its monthly Goma fire ritual and for its unusual modern structure. Constructed in the 18th century, the former main hall of the temple still exists as part of the temple complex, but it is the current main hall that grabs the visitor's attention. It has a strikingly modern design, with white and gold letters on the outer wall of the temple. Which many visitors find rather unusual than the traditional temples found in Japan.
6. Gotokuji Temple
Gotokuji Temple is a stunning temple from the Edo period, particularly famous for the massive collection of lucky cat statues. These cat statues are believed to bless you with luck and success, you can also purchase your own cat statue to take home or gift to your loved ones. Although the cats are what bring in visitors, there are many other things to see and do inside the temple ground. Visitors can purchase wooden ema plaques where they can write their hopes and prayers to God. Gotokuji Temple is an excellent example of traditional Japanese architecture, with a beautiful garden surrounding the temple.
7. Ryusen-ji Temple
Ryusen-ji Temple also known as Meguro Fudoson was originally built in 808, but only gained popularity during the Edo period, when Meguro was a popular pilgrimage site. When entering the temple main ground, there is an iconic pair of male and female demon figures. Additionally, the temple compounds are quite big, with a lot of other buildings and statues to look at. A great place to spend your afternoon, strolling around in the relaxing landscape.
8. Kaneiji Temple
The stunning Kaneiji Temple is located on the opposite of the busy Ueno Park, the temple dates back to the early 17th century with the iconic 5-story pagoda and countless buddha statues. The temple is described as rather peaceful and calming, surrounded by trees, which is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season. The temple ground is usually quiet and serene, the perfect place to take a break from the busy streets of Tokyo.
9. Gokokuin Temple
Gokokuin Temple is located in Taito-ku, Tokyo. This temple of the Tendai sect was built in 1625. The Shakado (currently the main hall) had been through several historic events, and after having experienced relocation and fires, it eventually became the current main hall. If you are nearby the Ueno Park, you might want to consider stopping by at Gokukuin Temple to truly appreciate the nature and culture of Tokyo.
10. Tennoji Temple
Tennoji Temple is located in Yanaka, Taito, Tokyo. It is the epitome of nature-blessed Buddhist temple, set among a wood-like cemetery, and surrounded by numerous cherry trees. A big bronze praying Buddha dominates the main lawn, which attracts many tourists. The temple today is surrounded by a sophisticated wall of modern design, enclosing its simply but beautifully landscaped grounds.
11. Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple is one of Tokyo’s most popular temples constructed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple. When arrived at the temple, visitors walk through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), which is the outer gate of Sensoji temple.
Multiple small shops stretched over 200 metres where visitors can enjoy purchasing small gifts and souvenirs for their loved ones. There are multiple events held throughout the year in the temple, the biggest of them is the Sanja Matsuri, an annual festival held in Asakusa temple during May.
12. Kannonji Temple
Kannonji is usually a quiet temple, it is a place of relaxation for the locals and tourists. The temple is located about 15 minutes on foot from Sangenjaya Station. You can also find the statue of Fudo Myo in the temple ground, where locals come to pray and wish for good luck and success. Beautiful wooden buildings that are made with high craftsmanship.
13. Zojoji Temple
The Buddhist temple Zojoji is a treasure-trove of history founded in the heart of Tokyo. It is located near Tokyo Tower, making it a popular destination spot among tourists. The temple was originally built in the year 1393 and moved to its current location in 1598, there is also a small museum located in the basement ground of the temple main hall, which showcases previous manifestation of the Tokugawa Mausoleum.