Asagaya Shinmeigu is a small shrine north of Asagaya Station. It has 1700 years of history and is known for warding off evil. And considering it is very close to one of Tokyo’s most popular stations, it is surprising how serene it is. It is an excellent place for photos if you have limited time.
This place is small. Honestly, I need to stress that. It’s not much larger than a postage stamp. But, with trees surrounding it, you get a feeling of serenity. It’s like Meiji Jingu. I think you’ll be impressed.
Visits there won’t take long. So, if you are looking for a place to spend hours photographing, you might be disappointed. The architecture is brilliant but other than that, you’ll need to work creatively.
What is there to photograph?
- Shrine architecture. Asagaya Shinmeigu is one of the most beautiful in Tokyo.
- As with other temples and shrines, there are racks of ema. Ema are wooden plaques on which you write your requests to the gods and then hang on special “trees.” Asagaya Shinmeigu’s are a little different – crescent moons! They can be good for photos.
- When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, there is a special event. Shrine maidens (Miko) perform dances and songs dedicated to the goddess. I’ve never attended, but apparently, it is open to everybody with free sake and food. The date depends on when the cherry blossoms bloom, so it may vary from year to year.
- And as with many shrines, there is a chance to see a Shinto wedding during your visit. Spring and autumn might be your best chance for that.
Where is Asagaya Shinmeigu?
The shrine is on the north side of Asagaya station, a five-minute walk away. Here is a map:
Which train lines go there?
JR Chuo, JR Sobu, and Tozai Metro.
- January to March: 6 am to 5 pm
- April to May: 5:30 am to 5:30 pm
- June to July: 5 am to 5:30 pm (weekends open to 6 pm)
- August to September: 5 am to 5:30 pm
- October: 5:30 am to 5 pm
- November to December: 6 am to 5 pm.
- On monthly festival days (1st and 15th), the opening time is 5 am.
- The reception office is open from 9 am to 5 am.
Other photo spots near Asagaya Shinmeigu:
- Inokashira Park (in Kichijoji)
- Myohoji temple
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- Zenpukuji Park (click here for 2017 cherry blossoms pics)
Asagaya Shinmeigu is beautiful, but small. A visit won’t take long, but the architecture makes it worth going. That is the one thing I enjoy. It doesn’t have as much for photographers as the major shrines in Tokyo.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the area for photography. If you are looking for something “big,” you’ll be disappointed. If you go, try to combine it with one of the shrine’s festivals (website here). In August, there is also a great Tanabata event at the Pearl Center Shopping Street which is on the south side of the station. That can be fun.
The good thing is that Asagaya is on the Chuo, Sobu, and Tozai lines. That makes moving to your next spot easy. Kichijoji and Shinjuku are only a short train ride away. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.