Yasukuni Shrine Photography Guide – Tips & hints

Yasukuni main entrance torii in autumn
There are many massive torii gates at Yasukuni Shrine.

What can I say about Yasukuni Shrine? Located in Chiyoda ward, the Meiji Emperor founded it in 1869. It is for those who fell fighting for Japan, from the Boshin War to World War 2. It is a brilliant place for photography in Tokyo!

At 6.24 hectares, it is a big place. Well, it’s not as big as Meiji Shrine, but it has enough to keep photographers occupied. There are many buildings, monuments, nooks, and crannies. It also has a museum. You won’t run out of things to photograph.

Yushukan Mitsubishi Zero Fighter
The Yushukan's Mitsubishi Zero Fighter.

I recommend entering it from the Kudanshita station side. At the entrance, you’ll be under a massive 25-meter high torii gate. The torii marks the start of the 500-meter-long ginkgo-lined causeway. It is a great place to walk in autumn when the trees turn yellow.

Yasukuni torii gate and pink cherry blossoms

In the middle of the causeway is an enormous pillar upon which is Japan’s first bronze statue. It is of Masujirō Ōmura (considered by many to be the father of the modern Japanese military). Continue, and you will enter one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines.

Yasukuni Shrine Mitama Festival omikoshi
A mikoshi at the Mitama Festival.

What can you photograph at Yasukuni Shrine?

This shrine will impress. Everything is big. The torii gate on the long causeway towers over visitors, as do statues. What else is there?

  • Cherry blossoms – these are all over the place, but they only bloom in spring.  One of them is used to determine when the Tokyo season for the trees starts.
  • Chinreisha – this shrine is dedicated to those from any country who fought and died in conflict with Japan.  It is tiny.  Currently, it is behind a locked gate.
  • Main Hall – It is a beautiful building with great architecture. A word of warning here – the area in front of its steps is sacred ground. Taking pictures is forbidden there.
  • Military Museum (Yushukan). If you are interested in history, it has some great displays.  Its foyer even has a Zero fighter! Entry is ¥1000.
  • Mitama Festival – it honors Japan’s war dead and takes place in July.  For the festival, the complex is lit by 30,000 lanterns.  Many people turn out in yukatas. 

When is the best time to photograph there?

  • The Mitama Festival in July.
  • Cherry blossom season in spring (2022 photos here).
  • Autumn is great. When the ginkgo trees turn yellow, Yasukuni’s entrance is fantastic.

Photo spots near Yasukuni

Yasukuni Shrine main worship hall and torii gate
Looking through another torii at the main worship hall.
Yasukuni Shinmon main gate
The Shinmon Gate.

Yasukuni Shrine details

See the shrine’s opening hours and location on the official website.

Is free WIFI available?

Yes.

Yasukuni Shinmon gate with main worship hall behind

Wrapping up

Going to Yasukuni Shrine is an experience. And considering how many people might be there on any given day, it is tranquil. The shrine and its grounds are beautiful.

If you want to see one of Tokyo’s most important shrines, a military museum, and cherry blossoms, this is the one for you. Well, you will have to go in spring to see the flowers! But, there is enough in any season to make it worth a visit, especially with a camera. Please leave questions and comments below.

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