⛩Temples vs Shrines and where to go⛩

In this post I will introduce temples and shrines you can go to while visiting Tokyo. Obviously there are temples outside of Tokyo too so a list of those temples will be up soon.

Firstly, lets go over the differences between temples and shrines as I am sure it isn’t really clear for many people (It is quite difficult to distinguish at times). Shrines are referred to as 神社 (Jinja) and it is a place where Shinto religion is practiced. Temples on the other hand are referred to as お寺 (Otera) and is a place of worship for Buddhism. So when you visit Japan, if a place is called something something Jinja, its a shrine. If the place is called something something-ji, (ji is another way of reading the kanji in Otera, 寺) it is a temple.

明治 神宮 (Meiji Jingu) You will notice that this doesn’t end in -ji or -jinja. But is called something something -gu refers to a big shrine. Meiji Jingu is located right in the middle of Tokyo, its in Harajuku. It has a massive gate and covers a lot of land. Its nice to visit if you are wanting to walk around a lot or take your time going around to see as much of the shrine as you can this is a shrine that I would highly recommend you visit.

浅草寺 (Senso-ji)  If you remember from earlier on that anywhere ending in -ji is a shrine, so Senso-ji must be a temple. It is one of the most commonly known to visitors.  There is a picture of the famous gate on my post on Logan Paul. (Its the temple he went to. If you want to read about my thoughts on his visit, you can here.) Don’t worry about getting lost there as there are so many tourists so there are many signs and maps that can help you find your way around.

湯島天満宮・湯島天神 (Yushima-tenmangu・Yushimatenjin) This shrine has 2 names. This one is famous for visiting at the beginning of the year for people to pray for good health and safety. (You can read on new years traditions here.) It is also known for high-schoolers or young elementary school children as a place to pray for good luck on their entrance exams into University or Junior High school.

泉岳寺 (Sengaku-ji) This is a temple and is a very peaceful and quiet temple. It is very accessible for tourists as it is located in Shinagawa which is somewhere very popular for hotels so if you stay in shinagawa, this is a temple you should definitely visit.

I will post a list of other temples and shrines within the week. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!

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