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Yasukuni Shrine

A landmark that signals the start of spring in Tokyo and serves as a window into Japan's past and traditions.

By Abhijit Sen

Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in central Tokyo and is an important religious site for many Japanese people. The shrine was constructed to pay homage to the soldiers who served their country. It is a place of remembrance and contemplation, where visitors can show their respect to those who fought for Japan. However, during the 1970s, the shrine became a subject of controversy when it enshrined some of the A-listed war criminals alongside other soldiers. The shrine is also well-known for celebrating Tokyo’s spring every year and is famous for its beautiful cherry blossom trees.

Exploring the Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ Ryuji Pass through the daiichi torii.

As visitors enter the vast outer garden area, they will be greeted by the first shrine gate, known as daiichi torii. The gate is an impressive structure that stands tall over the shrine’s entrance. The main sanctuary called honden is flanked by a main hall, haiden and a variety of other structures. The shrine grounds also house the Yushukan Museum, which provides visitors with a glimpse into Japan’s military history.

Within the grounds, visitors can find numerous memorial statues and monuments, each with its own story to tell. One of the most famous monuments is the statue of Omura Masujiro, a prominent figure in Japan’s modernization. The statue is a symbol of Japan’s transformation from a feudal society to a modern nation.

Spring at Yasukuni Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ ABC Yasukuni Shrine in full bloom.

One of the best times to visit Yasukuni Shrine is during the annual sakura matsuri (cherry blossom festival), which takes place every spring. During this time, approximately 500 cherry trees at Yasukuni Shrine bloom, creating a pristine and picturesque scene. One particularly special evening during this period is known as yozakura, when the trees are beautifully lit up with lanterns. The festival is a celebration of nature’s beauty and a reminder of the fleeting nature of life.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

The shrine is free to enter and is open from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. from March to October. From November to February the shrine is open from 6 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Yashukan Museum is open from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and costs ¥1,000 to enter. 

How To Get There


By train

To reach Yasukuni-jinja, the closest stations are Ichigaya and Iidabashi or Kudanshita station. From these stations, the shrine is a 10-minute walk away.

Where To Stay

APA Hotel Iidabashi-Ekiminami
  • 3-1-4 Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0072 Japan
  • ¥10,200 - ¥19,000
  • 4.13/5 (358 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
Keio Presso Inn Tokyo Kudanshita
  • 1-7-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0073 Japan
  • ¥10,170 - ¥16,200
  • 4.15/5 (2,164 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
Hotel Monterey Hanzomon
  • 23-1 Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0082 Japan
  • ¥15,550 - ¥20,790
  • 4.05/5 (4,993 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
APA Hotel Iidabashi-Ekimae
  • 3-4-6 Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0072 Japan
  • ¥10,200 - ¥17,800
  • 4.03/5 (562 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
Hotel Metropolitan Edmont
  • 3-10-8 Kabushikikaishiya Hoteruedomonto, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-8130 Japan
  • ¥21,200 - ¥119,900
  • 4.36/5 (4,531 reviews)
  • 0.9 km

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