Yasukuni shrine is a Shinto shrine in central Tokyo, close to the Imperial Palace,
that commemorates Japan’s war dead. The purpose of this shrine is to enshrine those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives for Japan.
A political controversy surrounds Yasukuni because since 1978, fourteen class A war criminals (including General Hideki Tojo from WWII ) are among the 2.5 million enshrined here. Several Japanese prime ministers and cabinet members come here to pay their respects, which infuriates some from China and South Korea. They believe it is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state. Each time I have been there, there have been Japanese news personnel watching to see if anyone noteworthy was paying their respects.
Next to the shrine stands the Yushukan, a fascinating museum that commemorates and documents Japan’s wars from a very pro Japanese point of view. Let’s just say their take on WWII is VERY interesting. If you are a history buff, or have a visitor that is, you should definitely check it out.
Around the shrine grounds there are hundreds of cherry trees, including Tokyo’s representative cherry tree that is used by the meteorological agency to pronounce the official opening of the season in Tokyo. It is also widely considered one of Tokyo’s best cherry blossom viewing spots.
This shrine also has several very impressive Torii gates, and two huge stone lanterns ( Japan’s largest) built to honor the Army and Navy respectively.
There is a weekly Sunday flea market on the grounds, except during the blossom viewing in April. Merri Kever, July 2015
Hours 6:00 to 18:00 from may to August, to 17:00 from November to February
No closing days
9:00 to 16:30 (admission until 16:00)
A few irregular closure days in late June and late December
Cost: 800 yen
Yasukuni shrine is a short walk from Kudanshita Station on the Hanzomon, Tozai, and Shinjuku Subway lines.
From Shinjuku station
Take the Shinjuku subway line directly from Shinjuku to Kudanshita Station. It takes about 8 min
From Tokyo Station
Take the maranouchi subway line to Otemachi, then the Hanzomon Subway line to Kudanshita. About 5 min total.