Takayama Jinya is a former government building that was under direct governance of Edo (previous name of Tokyo). The building is now a museum open to visitors. Most of the rooms are tatami rooms that once served as offices and meeting rooms but there is also a peculiar room that was used by the lord to interrogate/torture suspected criminals.
The origins of Sakurayama Shrine in Takayama date back to the fifth century. Nowadays, the shrine plays an important role in the celebration of the Takayama festival (Takayama Matsuri) when large floats are pushed through the streets of Takayama. The Sakurayama Shrine is located on a hillside and is surrounded by large trees which confer to the site a serene atmosphere. Nearby, a museum features several festival floats on display and another boasts an impressive selection of small-scale replicas of the Nikko historical sites.
Takayama features many well-preserved buildings dating from the Edo period when the city was an important hub for Japanese merchants. To the North of Takayama, in the Houmeitaigumi preservation area, the Kusakabe Heritage House and the Yoshijima Heritage House are open to visitors. These small museums offer visitors an insight into the life of Takayama’s merchants in its glory days.
Japan boasts many famous shrines and temples that most first time visitors will learn about while planning their trip. But japan may have hundreds or thousands of thousand of such historical sites if not more. Each neighborhood generally has its own, where locals will celebrate many traditional rituals throughout the year. The Hozonji Temple and Isesha Shrine located in Nagano, located side-by-side, are beautiful examples.
This peculiar stone church was built as a memorial of Uchimura Kanzo, the founder of a Japanese Christian movement. The church was built by the American architect Kendrick Kellogg in harmony with the surrounding nature. The church’s structure is unique with multiple stone arches and rows of windows allowing plenty of natural light in the stone building. The design is also striking by its unusual asymmetry.
The Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Kyushu and is located a short walk away from the Dazaifu station. The shrine’s grounds are extensive and include beautiful gardens and a museum which houses the shrine’s treasures. The main walkway leading to the shrine passes over an iconic large bridge and then under an impressive Torii gate before arriving at the main altar. Shinto rituals are performed at the shrine and can be witnessed by visitors.
The Kushida Shrine is an important shrine of the district of Hakata. The shrine is known for hosting the Yamakasa Gion Matsuri, the biggest festival in Fukuoka. During the festival, giant floats are carried around the neighborhood. One of them is displayed permanently at the shrine. The shrine features a large Shimenawa rope above the altar and some peculiar long-nosed Tengu masks. Lanterns, and the whole shrine grounds, are lit in the evening creating a truly special atmosphere.