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From Tokyo’s hidden sightseeing routes to Tokyo’s 10 shrines!

(The following article contains information on rituals and practices that include components based on Japan’s traditional religions (such as Buddhism and Shinto). This content is presented solely for informational purposes; these practices are not enforced in these facilities in any way.)

“Tokyo 10 Shrines Tour” is secretly becoming popular. The history of these “10 Shrines” goes back to the Meiji period. The 10 shrines originated the “Junchokusaijinja” which is the 10 shrines located around the center of Tokyo where, during a festival, the imperial messenger sent by Meiji Emperor prays for peace in Japan’s capital. In 1975, to celebrate the 50th year of the crowning of Emperor Showa, the “Tokyo 10 Shrines Tour”, touring around the 10 shrines, was planned and since then the custom of paying a visit to each of the 10 shrines has become widely popular among people. The 10 shrines are composed of Oji (Kita), Hakusan, Nezu (Bunkyo), Kanda, Hie (Chiyoda), Hikawa, Shiba (Minato), Kameido, Tomioka (Koto), and Shinagawa (Shinagawa), each with miraculous efficacy as power spots, and are known to be shrines which has attracted a lot of pilgrims since ancient times.

Many people may wonder: “Isn’t it tiring to go around 10 different interspersed shrines?”, but if we start early, it is possible to visit all the shrines by evening. (Please note that in the evening doors in some of the shrines will be closed and then we cannot access the inner sanctuary. Closing time also varies by seasons such as summer or winter). The order of the 10 shrines in the tour is not specifically determined. It is better to just work out a route from more accessible areas, isn’t it.

If you think of using transportation facilities’ free use, it should be the train. It is possible to walk to all the shrines from their nearest stations. The nearest from train stations is Shinagawa Shrine, 1 minute walk from the nearby Keihinkyuko Shin-Bamba station, and even the farthest Kameidotenjin Shrine is only 10 minutes walk from Kameido Station of JR Sobu Line. If we use the train, it is convenient to buy a “Tokyo free ticket” one-day pass (1590 yen) which allows free entrance to JR lines, Tokyo Metro lines and Toei Subway lines inside Tokyo. The ticket is available at JR gates, Tokyo Metro gates and any stations of Toei Subway lines. Although Shinagawa Shrine, which is close to Keihinkyuko line, is not covered by this ticket, as all the other shrines are located near JR lines, Tokyo Metro lines and Toei Subway lines, it is still good value for money and extremely convenient to have one. Moreover, as this ticket also allows entrance to Toei bus, you can use it to go to Kameidotenjin Shrine which is the farthest from train station.

Our recommendation for those who say “I just want to reduce traveling expenses anyway” is to go on an “only-city-bus” tour, using connecting buses. You can purchase the “One-day pass” to get on any city bus within one day. You can buy this ticket not only from any offices, branches and information desks of Toei Bus, but also directly from bus drivers on the bus. It cost only 500 yen. Don’t forget to get a free “Minkuru Guide” Toei bus route map at any offices and branches of Toei Bus or Toei subway station. Check this route map against the shrine map to decided which bus route and which bus stop to take. Except for Shinagawa Shrine which is the farthest from the nearest Toei bus stop (about 20 minute walk), all the other shrines are mostly within 10 minute walk from Toei bus. Actually I once visited all 10 shrines within one day in this way. I departed at around 8 AM from central city terminal station, changing buses for about 20 times to visit all the shrines and was able to come back to the original terminal station at around after 6 PM. This is recommended for those who are confident at map-reading and enjoy repeating bus changing. Although there may be fewer number of buses depending on the route, it is still great if you can think of the ways to enjoy that waiting time.

Beside, if you are able to walk, you can challenge yourself and visit the 10 shrines on foot. Although it may be hard to complete it in one day, still it is the profound meaning of “Touring 10 shrines”.

Top image:富士フィルムコミッション

This post is also available in: Japanese

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