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Photo By: iStock/ winhorse
Largest City

Hie Jinja Shrine

A shrine with an impressive tunnel of red torii gates and home to Tokyo’s famous Sanno Festival.

By Abhijit Sen

One of Tokyo’s most important shrines, whose existence dates back to the Kamakura period, is located on a small hilltop of Nagatacho. Despite being at the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities, the surrounding greenery fills this Shinto shrine with peace and tranquility.

It has a special connection to the Tokugawa clan. When Lord Ieyasu Tokugawa made Edo Castle his residence, Hie jinja (shrine) was revered as the “protector of the Tokugawa family.”

Home to one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals

Photo by: iStock/ PhotoNetwork Held annually during summer, the Sanno festival is one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo.

The enshrined deity of Hie shrine is called Oyamakui no Kami (the guardian and protector of the city of Tokyo). People usually come to this shrine to pray for safe childbirth, marriage and prosperity in business.

In mid-June, Hie Shrine presents the Sanno Festival, one of Tokyo’s three major festivals. During the festival, a grand 300-meter parade runs through central Tokyo. Worshippers dance and sing to the beat of taiko drums and exhibit hundreds of lanterns dedicated to the deity.

A shrine guarded by monkeys

Photo by: iStock/ krblokhin Write your prayers on these wooden planks called ema.

There are three entrances to this temple. The Sanno torii gate (wooden gates found at the shrines) entry is the most convenient because it has an escalator next to the stairs to get up to the hilltop shrine.

At the entrance to the main hall, you can notice a few different features, such as instead of the komainu (a lion-like statue that usually guards the entrance to the inner shrine), monkeys (known as masaru) guarding the entrance to the main hall and they are considered to be the messenger of Oyamakui no Kami.

Many worshippers pray in front of the statue of the monkey couple so that the divine monkeys bless them and convey their prayers to the deity.

A torii tunnel in Tokyo

Photo by: iStock/ winhorse No need to go to Fushimi Inari in Kyoto to see rows upon rows of torii gates.

Apart from these, Sanno Inari jinja is one of the main attractions here. Behind the main hall, a tunnel of 90 bright vermilion torii gates leads to the street. This beautiful place is reminiscent of the “Senbon Torii” of Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine. This place is, therefore, very popular among foreign tourists and Japanese people.

This culturally rich and historically significant place is situated in the middle of the city, so it constantly sees all the city’s changes and silently preserves the glorious old chapters in the new.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

Entry to the shrine is free. Gates are open from 6 A.M. to 5 P.M. Amulets, souvenirs and ema (wooden prayer plaques) are available from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M.

A variety of beautiful amulets and Ema of different prices are available here, which can be bought for praying purposes and as keepsakes for yourself or your family.

How To Get There


By train

As the temple is in the center of the city, it is accessible from several stations:
A 3-minute walk from Akasaka station (2nd exit) of the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line
3-4 minutes walk from Tameike-Sanno station (Exit 7) on the Tokyo Metro Namboku/Ginza line.
A 5-minute walk from Kokkaigijidomae station (Exit 5) of the Tokyo metro Chiyoda line 
8 minutes on foot from Akasaka Mitsuke station (Exit 11) of the Tokyo metro Ginza line/Marunouchi line

By car

By car it will take 5 minutes from the Kasumigaseki Interchange on the Metropolitan Expressway.

Where To Stay

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
  • 2-10-3 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0014 Japan
  • ¥116,380 - ¥756,469
  • 4.8/5 (505 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
APA Hotel Pride Akasaka Kokkaigijidomae
  • 2-10-2 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0014 Japan
  • ¥14,200 - ¥25,400
  • 0.1 km
Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akasaka
  • 3-7-12 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052 Japan
  • ¥18,360 - ¥31,680
  • 3.33/5 (73 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Hotel Hillarys Akasaka
  • 3-12-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052 Japan
  • ¥19,500 - ¥25,200
  • 4/5 (453 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Centurion Hotel Residential Akasaka
  • 3-12-3 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052 Japan
  • ¥13,750 - ¥30,000
  • 4/5 (912 reviews)
  • 0.2 km

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