1. Japan
  2. Kantō Region
  3. Tokyo
  4. Kiyosumi

Lonely Planet Experiences: Tokyo Temples and Shrines Tour

Product ID: 124613
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Through a visit to a Buddhist temple and a Shinto shrine, gain a fascinating insight into the two dominant religions of Japan. Experience a ritual and learn about spiritualism.
About this activity
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Duration: 3 hours
Starting time 8:30 AM
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  • Attend a Buddhist fire ceremony
  • Visit a famous shrine with close ties to the sumo wrestling world
  • Take a stroll through an elegant, beautifully manicured Japanese garden
Full description
Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience.

Join this off-the-beaten-track tour for an introduction to the two main religions of Japan. To kick things off, start at the busy Fudo-do Temple. With the stunning temple grounds as backdrop, learn how Shintoism and Buddhism, Japan’s two primary religions, coexist. Watch a unique Buddhist ceremony known as a Goma ritual, held in the main temple hall. The ceremony involves burning a special kind of firewood as an offering to the principal deity, Fudo Myou. When the ceremony ends, you’ll have a bit of time to explore the other floors of the temple, such as the prayer corridor with 9,500 miniature crystal statues. Talking is not allowed inside, so your guide will explain beforehand about some of the things you can expect to see, and will answer any questions you have when you leave the temple.

From Fudo-do, stroll over to Hachiman Shrine, which is best known for its close ties to the sumo world. The shrine is said to be the birthplace of Kanjin-zumō (founded in 1684) and the origin of current, professional sumo. The grounds are adorned with sumo-related stone monuments, and when a sumo wrestler reaches the highest rank, known as yokozuna, there is a dedication ceremony done at the shrine.

The last stop is Kiyosumi to admire a traditional Japanese garden. There has been a garden of some form here since the early 18th century but it was Iwasaki Yataro, the founder of Mitsubishi, who shaped it into the tranquil spot it is today. Yataro rebuilt the gardens for the pleasure and enjoyment of his employees and as a place to entertain important guests. At the end of the tour, you can explore the rest of the gardens or your guide will accompany you back to the train station. Before you go, don’t forget to ask your local guide for hints and tips on where else to visit during your stay in Tokyo.
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Transportation by subway to Kiyosumi Garden
  • Entrance fee to the garden
  • One charm or amulet souvenir
What’s Not Included
  • Food and drinks
  • Souvenirs and items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for your guide

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Monzen-Nakacho Station, exit 5, in front of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ bank. Accessible by the Tokyo Metro Tozai line and the Toei Oedo line.

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Important information
Know before you go
• It is advised that you dress modestly, with shoulders covered, as you will be visiting a temple and shrine
• You will have to take off your shoes before entering the temple building, so it is also recommended to bring a clean pair of socks
• This tour includes a 30-minute ritual at the temple, which should be attended in whole. Note that this is a proper ritual which the general public takes part in, and talking and any other forms of disruption are frowned upon. Please also note that seating cannot be guaranteed for the ritual
• Children between the ages of six and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed. Please select ‘child’ when booking. Children below the age of six are not permitted on this tour
• This is a small group tour of a maximum of 12 people

From US$ 73.34 per person

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Organized by

Urban Adventures Japan

Product ID: 124613