Where are you going?
Or, let us surprise youSpin the Globe ®

The Best Japanese Gardens, Temples and Shrines

List View
Map View
You could easily spend your entire time in Japan roaming between gardens, temples, and shrines—and it would be time well spent. Meander through Kyoto’s moss and rock gardens or explore Tokyo’s Imperial palace garden. Stay the night in an ancient temple and eat among Buddhist monks or visit one of Japan’s three great Shinto shrines situated in Tokyo, Ise, and Nagoya.
Save Place
1 Kinkakujichō, Kita-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 603-8361, Japan
Built in the 14th century as a villa for a powerful shogun, Kinkaku-ji temple, commonly referred to as the Golden Pavilion, is an easy bus ride from the main bus terminal in Kyoto. The temple is one of the most popular buildings in...
Save Place
294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera on Mount Otowa is one of the most famous temples in Japan, a place that appears in every sequence of Japanese travel photos. The landscape is all cherry trees and forest; it is among Kyoto's loveliest spots. The current structure...

Save Place
68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 612-0882, Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha on Inariyama mountain is dedicated to the Shinto gods of rice and sake, but Inari is also the god of merchants and that brings a lot of businesspeople to worship here. Everyone else stops by to see the thousands...

Save Place
2 Ginkakujichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 606-8402, Japan

Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), not to be confused with Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion; both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto), is set up against the eastern mountains. Most tours go to Kinkakuji, because it’s close to Ryoanji, but the...

Save Place
406-1 Zōshichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8211, Japan

Huge and imposing—in fact, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—the Todaiji was founded in 752 C.E. As big as the structure is now, it’s still only two-thirds of what it originally was. Besides being notable for its...

Save Place
2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan
Both Tokyo's largest and oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji is one of the city's must see sights. The streets leading to Senso-ji are filled with souvenir shops where you can find tapestries, kimonos, kitschy key chains, and finger foods....
Save Place
1-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-8557, Japan
Meiji Jingu, Ise Jingu, and Atsuta Jingu are the three great Shinto shrines of Japan. Meiji Jingu is located in central Tokyo northwest of Harajuku station. It was built in 1920 in honor of Emperor Meiji, who was largely responsible for Japan's...
Save Place
11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0014, Japan
After reading a series of recent posts on Afar that say things like "travel has taught me X,Y,and Z," I got to thinking: what has travel really "taught" me? Has it taught me to be nicer to people? More tolerant? More..."worldly" or educated? I...
Save Place
2301 Sannai, Nikkō-shi, Tochigi-ken 321-1431, Japan
Nikko Tosho-gu is a large Shinto shrine in Tochigi Prefecture just north of Tokyo. It is dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Ieyasu Tokugawa, whose remains are entombed within. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it can be reached in...
Save Place
1 Ujitachichō, Ise-shi, Mie-ken 516-0023, Japan
A visit to the Ise Grand Shrine begins in the nearby old town of Ise where for centuries pilgrims have come to pay respect to one of Japan's most holy Shinto shrines. You can purchase small gifts of offering in the quaint shops and enjoy a...