Located just 5 minutes walk from Akihabara station in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Kanda Myojin Shrine has a history of more than 1,300 years as the chief Shinto shrine of Edo since the Edo period.

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience in Tokyo, the Kanda Myojin Shrine should be on your to do-list. Founded in 730, the shrine has a rich history and is one of the oldest in Tokyo.

The shrine was originally near present-day Otemachi before being moved to its current location during the Edo period.

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

The Kanda Myojin Shrine is in the Chiyoda ward and is easily accessible from Akihabara Station. The shrine is particularly famous for its annual Kanda Matsuri festival, which takes place in mid-May and attracts thousands of visitors from all over Japan.

Kanda Matsuri Festival
Kanda Matsuri Festival

During the festival, portable shrines are paraded through the streets, and there are also performances of traditional music and dancing.

Kanda Matsuri
Kanda Matsuri. (2022, April 1). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanda_Matsuri

Whether you’re interested in learning more about Japanese culture and history or simply want to experience the beauty and tranquility of a traditional Shinto shrine, the Kanda Myojin Shrine should be on your to-do list in Tokyo. With its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and fascinating history, the shrine is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

History

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

As you step into the Kanda Myojin Shrine, you are surrounded by a rich history that dates back nearly 1,300 years. The shrine was founded in 730 near present-day Otemachi, and over the centuries, it has been moved times due to natural disasters and city planning.

During the Edo period (1603-1867), the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu expanded Edo Castle and moved the shrine to Kanda, where it has been ever since. The shrine has been rebuilt times due to fire and earthquakes, with the current structure dating back to 1934.

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

Despite the changes over the centuries, the Kanda Myojin Shrine has remained an important part of Tokyo’s cultural heritage. It is a symbol of the city’s resilience and the enduring spirit of its people.

Architecture

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

As you approach the Kanda Myojin Shrine, you will be struck by the impressive architecture of the main gate. The gate, or torii, is made of wood and painted in a bright vermilion color, which is a common feature of Shinto shrines. The gate is quite tall, which gives it a commanding presence and makes it easy to spot from a distance.

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

Once you pass through the gate, you will find yourself in a spacious courtyard surrounded by buildings. The main building, or honden, is the most important structure in the shrine.

It is where the kami, or spirits, are enshrined and where visitors come to pray. The honden is made of wood and has a steeply pitched roof that is covered in cypress bark. The roof is supported by large wooden pillars, which give the building a sturdy and timeless feel.

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

Another interesting feature of the Kanda Myojin Shrine is the use of copper plates on the roof of the honden. The copper plates are engraved with intricate designs that depict scenes from Japanese mythology. The plates are also adorned with gold leaf, which adds a touch of elegance and grandeur to the building.

Overall, the architecture of the Kanda Myojin Shrine is a beautiful blend of traditional Japanese design and modern construction techniques. The use of natural materials like wood and cypress bark gives the buildings a warm and inviting feel, while the intricate engravings and gold leaf add a touch of luxury and sophistication.

Cultural Significance

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

Kanda Myojin Shrine is a place of great cultural significance in Tokyo. The shrine dates back 1,300 years and has been an important center of Shinto worship throughout its history.

The shrine is dedicated to three deities, including the god of war, and has long been associated with the protection of the city and its people.

One of the most important events at Kanda Myojin Shrine is the Kanda Matsuri festival, which is held every two years in May.

This matsuri is one of the biggest and best festivals in Tokyo and attracts millions of visitors from all over Japan and the world. The festival features a parade of portable shrines, musicians, and dancers, and is a colorful and lively celebration of Tokyo’s cultural heritage.

Kanda Matsuri
Kanda Matsuri. (2022, April 1). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanda_Matsuri

In addition to its religious significance, Kanda Myojin Shrine is also an important cultural landmark in Tokyo. The shrine’s architecture and design are typical of the Edo period, and the shrine’s grounds are home to a number of historic buildings and structures.

Visitors to the shrine can see examples of traditional Japanese architecture, including torii gates, stone lanterns, and wooden buildings with thatched roofs.

The shrine is also closely associated with the Akihabara district of Tokyo, which is famous for its electronics and anime culture. Many visitors to Kanda Myojin Shrine are fans of anime and manga, and the shrine is a popular destination for those interested in Japanese pop culture.

The shrine’s connection to Akihabara has also led to the development of a number of anime and manga-related events and activities in the area, making Kanda Myojin Shrine a hub of Japanese pop culture.

Festivals and Events

If you’re planning a visit to Kanda Myojin Shrine, you might want to consider timing your trip to coincide with one of the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Here are a few highlights:

  • Kanda Festival: One of Tokyo’s three major Shinto festivals, the Kanda Festival is held every odd-numbered year on the weekend closest to May 15. The festival is a massive event that includes parades of portable shrines (mikoshi) through the streets of central Tokyo, as well as traditional music and dance performances. If you’re in Tokyo during the festival, it’s definitely worth checking out.
  • Tokyo Ramen Show: If you’re a fan of ramen (and who isn’t?), you won’t want to miss the Tokyo Ramen Show, which takes place at Kanda Myojin Shrine every October. The event features vendors from all over Japan offering up their best ramen dishes, as well as live music and other entertainment.
  • Chrysanthemum Festival: Held every November, the Chrysanthemum Festival is a celebration of Japan’s national flower. At Kanda Myojin Shrine, you can see displays of chrysanthemums in shapes and colors, including some that have been trained to grow in the shape of famous people or characters.

These are just a few examples of the many festivals and events that take place at Kanda Myojin Shrine throughout the year. No matter when you visit, there’s sure to be something interesting and exciting going on.

How to Get There

If you’re planning to visit the Kanda Myojin Shrine, getting there is quite easy. The shrine is in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, specifically in Kanda district. The shrine is accessible via modes of transportation, including trains, subways, and buses.

If you’re coming from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station, you can take the JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara Station. From there, it’s just a seven-minute walk to the shrine. Alternatively, you can take the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line to Ochanomizu Station and walk for about 10 minutes to reach the shrine.

If you’re taking the bus, you can take the Toei Bus or the Tokyo Bus to Kanda Myojin-mae bus stop. The shrine is just a few steps away from the bus stop.

Once you arrive at the shrine, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful vermilion torii gates that lead to the main shrine building. The shrine is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission is free.

If you’re interested in exploring the surrounding area, you can also visit the nearby Yushima Seido Confucian Shrine and the Holy Resurrection Cathedral. The area is also known for its many cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to spend a day exploring.

New Years Visit

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

During the New Year’s visit to the shrine, a New Year’s Day ceremony is held, with sake barrels and rice cakes being served to worshipers. About 300,000 people visit the shrine.

Today, it still protects the people of Tokyo as the chief deity of 108 towns including Kanda, Nihonbashi, Akihabara, and Otemachi.

Kanda Myoin Shrine
Kanda Myoin Shrine

The official name of the shrine is Kanda Shrine and the deities enshrined at the shrine are Ohonamuchi no Mikoto, Sunahikona no Mikoto, and Taira no Masakado no Mikoto.

The deity is believed to be a god of marriage, prosperity in business, and protection from disasters and evil.

Park Name Kanda Myojin
神田明神
Park Address 2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Access (by train)
  • Subway Marunouchi Line Ochanomizu station about 0.6km
  • Subway Ginza Line Suehiro station about 0.6 km
  • Subway Chiyoda Line Shin-ochanomizu station about 0.7 km
  • Subway Hibiya Line Akihabara station about 0.9 km
  • JR Chuo Main Line/Sobu Line Shin-ochanomizu station about 0.6 km
  • JR Keihin Tohoku Line/Yamate Line Akihabara station about 0.8 km
Access (by car)
  • Kandabashi Exit, Metropolitan Expressway Inner Circular Route, about 1.8 km
  • Ueno Exit, Metropolitan Expressway Route 1 Ueno Line About 1.7 km

 

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