During a trip to Japan, finding the best sake shouldn’t be the only thing on your list of to-dos. With so many breathtaking Japanese temples available to visit, tranquility seekers, nature lovers and admirers of religious architecture should all give themselves a chance to experience the peaceful serenity of Japanese temples. Nearly every Japanese village is home to a temple or shrine — and Kyoto alone is home to approximately 2,000 temples. Many Japanese temples offer free admission, but historic temples may charge an admission fee. To help you experience the most stunning Japanese temple during your next trip to Japan, the experts at AirportPreCheck.org have put together a list of the nation’s must-see temples.
#1 Kiyomizu Temple – Kyoto
According to the group of experts at AirportPreCheck.org, no trip to Kyoto is complete without a visit to the Kiyomizu Temple. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kiyomizu Temple is the most popular temple in Kyoto, especially among young tourists. Located in Eastern Kyoto, the temple offers stunning views of the city of Kyoto, along with its Otowa waterfall, which is said to provide healing properties to those who drink the water.
#2 Daigoji Temple – Kyoto
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Daigoji Temple in Southeast Kyoto. The temple is divided into two parts — the kami (upper) and shimo (lower). Most tourists stay in the lower part of the temple, which consists of historical attractions such as Kami Daigo and Nyonindo.
#3 Ryoanji Temple – Kyoto
Located in Northwest Kyoto is the Ryoanji Temple, which is home to Japan’s most popular Zen rock garden. The rock garden consists of 15 moss-covered boulders and raked gravel. However, it is said that only 14 boulders may be seen from any single place in the temple. The 15th boulder may only be seen when one attains enlightenment!
#4 Horyuji Temple – Nara
The Horyuji Temple can be found 10 kilometers southwest of the center of Nara. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features several of the world’s oldest surviving wooden buildings and is one of the top three can’t-miss temples in Nara. According to the team at AirportPreCheck.org, no trip to Nara is complete without a visit to Horyuji Temple.
#5 SensojiTemple – Tokyo
The Sensoji Temple is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo, going back as far as 628 A.D. Located in Eastern Tokyo, the temple is the region’s most renowned landmark. Open 24 hours a day, Sensoji Temple is free to enter and is a popular place to stroll down both during the day and in the evening.
#6 Tennoji Temple – Tokyo
From its ancient cherry trees to its Bronze Buddha statue, Tennoji Temple is a must-see for many reasons. For one, Tennoji Temple overlooks Nippori Station and Yanaka Cemetery, as well as other modern designs and beautiful landscapes.
#7 Gangoji Temple – Nara
Gangoji Temple was originally founded in Asuka but moved to Nara in 718. Though Gangoji Temple is not as popular as other Nara temples, such as Horyuji, Todaiji and Kofukuji, the team at AirportPreCheck.org recommends visiting Gangoji to experience its incredible five-storied pagoda, its Hall of Pure Land and its Contemplation Hall.
#8 Sanjusangendo Temple – Kyoto
Located in Eastern Kyoto, the Sanjusangendo Temple features 1,001 life-sized wooden statues of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Additionally, the temple hosts an annual archery tournament on January 15 each year.
#9 Naritasan Shinshoji Temple – Chiba
Located near Narita International Airport is the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, which attracts millions of visitors each year. According to the group at AirportPreCheck.org, the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple goes back as far as 1,000 years. Visitors can experience a free guided walk around the temple grounds, where they can learn about Japanese Buddhism and culture.
#10 Kawasaki Daishi Temple (Heiken-ji) – Kawasaki
The Kawasaki Daishi Temple is the most popular tourist attraction in the city of Kawasaki. Not only is the temple a popular attraction on New Year’s for worship, but it is also known for its ability to ward off evil.