Japan has some of the most amazing places of worship in the entire world. Many of these places of worship are called shrines, and belong to the Shinto religion. Here I take a look at what I consider to be the best 5 in the whole country.
The Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is located in a huge, seemingly-enchanted forest and is dedicated to the spirits of the Emperor Meiji and his wife the Empress Shoken. It was built in 1920 but was partially destroyed during air strikes in World War 2. The atmosphere of this place will leave you breathless!
The Kotohiragu Shrine in Kotohira is situated half way up the side of Mount Zozu, and sits at the end of a long path consisting of around 1300 steps (800 to the main shrine itself, and a further 500 or so to the inner parts of the shrine).
The Toshogu Shrine in Nikko is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the structures here within the shrine complex are also designated as National Japanese Treasures.
The Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is arguably the most visually striking attraction in the city. Literally thousands of red torii gates lead up Inari Mountain to the main shrine, as all the while Kitsune (foxes) guard the way with keys in their mouths. Read all about my experiences at the Fushimi Inari Shrine!
The Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, near Hiroshima, is known all around the world as the floating torii gate. When the tide is out, you can walk up the base and touch it, but is best seen when the tide is in, as the shrine appears to be floating on top of the water! Check out my experience at the Itsukushima Shrine!