Even with the dizzying modernity of its youth culture and its mega-muscled commercial instincts, Shibuya City Ward still finds time to appeal with its spiritual spaces. Iconic must-visit shrines, cultural treasures and local meditative temples all co-exist in that variety so typical of Tokyo. Here is an introduction to some of the temples and shrines of Shibuya and how to reach them.
Konno Hachimangu Shrine
Surviving the bombings of World War Two, most of the structures at the extraordinary Konno Hachimangu Shrine are now listed as Intangible Cultural Properties. Visitors can also enter the Konnomaru room that houses treasures like a 12th-century sword, the oldest mikoshi portable shrine in central Tokyo and even Edo period plaques featuring mathematical solutions.
A 4-minute walk from Shibuya Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
Home to a zazen meditation room where visitors can participate for free, Korin-in Temple sits amongst a group of local temples in the area. Aesthetically appealing in that prim and proper manner, the stone landscaping of this meticulously maintained temple has the curious habit of drawing your attention to it.
A 4-minute walk from Hiroo Station on the Hibiya Line.
A classic must-visit destination in Tokyo, Meiji Jingu is acres of wooded shrine in the middle of one of the world's busiest commercial districts. Built in dedication to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the shrine not only features sublime design but the list of annual events held here - from sumo to horseback archery - makes a visit at any time of the year well worth it.
A 1-minute walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
Established in the 12th-century, Tofukuji Temple is said to be the oldest temple in the city. In spite of its ultra-modern location, the temple's well maintained gardens give it a remarkably peaceful atmosphere. Within the grounds, visitors will find a shoro bell tower with sutra coverings the surface, adding some extra detail to this handsome temple complex.
A 6-minute walk from Shibuya Station on the JR Yamanote Line.