Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 5 - Yasukuni Jinja (Chiyoda)

Yasukuni-jinja torii


4th February, 2003 - From the Imperial Palace, it's not too hard to visit Yasukuni-jinja, one of the more infamous places in Tokyo. By itself it's a rather imposing (if perhaps not so spectacular) Shinto shrine - as evidenced by the GIANT torii gate on the approach - to the Japanese fallen soldiers. The great contention with Yasakuni-jinja is that a number of "war criminals" from WWII are interred there. Visits by Japanese politicians inevitably raises a great clamour around Japan and much of nearby asia as evidence of some right-wing intentions by the Japanese government.

That's most probably a little disrespectful to the inumerous other soldiers souls that this shrine honours (actually, it's numbered at 2,466,000 souls - give or take). This is the equivalent (I suppose) to a shrine of remembrance in a western sense.

The original shrine was built following the Meiji restoration, and is therefore quite new by Japanese standards.

Mid-July is apparently a good time to see the shrine, during Mitama Matsuri (mid-summer festival), when the approach is lit by thousands of lanterns.
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