Yasukuni Shrine: A home to those who've died in war
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: November 02, 2017
Yasukuni Shrine, one of the best-known Shinto shrines, has often been seen as a symbol of imperial Japan’s war history.
Located near Imperial Palace in the Kudan district of Tokyo, it provides an outlook on the unique Shinto shrine and the modern war history of Japan.
August 15, the End-of-War Anniversary, is a good time to visit the shrine and learn about it and the history of Japan at war.
A couple-minute walk from Kudanshita Station of Tozai Line takes you to a large light tower called takadoro (literally, tall lantern). Japan’s largest shrine lantern was made with Japanese and Western architectural methods in 1871 to console the spirits of those who were killed in battle. The lantern has continued to light up not only the front of the shrine, but the entire hill that Kudan is located on.
A pedestrian bridge near the lantern will take you to the shrine entrance.
Although it is a Shinto shrine, Yasukuni Shrine doesn’t enshrine Shinto gods, but is simply dedicated to those who died in war. Since Emperor Meiji established it in 1869 to commemorate and honor the achievement of war dead, more than 2,466,000 warriors and civilians have been enshrined.
While some consider the shrine a sacred home to national heroes, just like Arlington National Cemetery, others see it as a symbol of Japanese militarism that drove countless people to war. Official visits by ministers for the End-of-War Anniversary has raised criticism in neighboring countries.
When you visit the shrine, know that that’s where the Pokemon Go search ends; signs remind visitors of the Pokemon ban within the shrine.
A visit to Yasukuni Shrine would not be complete without touring Yushukan, a war museum holding 100,000 articles including war-relating paintings, documents, armors, weapons, tanks and airplanes. Some suicidal weapons, such as human-operated torpedoes were also displayed.
The war items provide a good look into all of Japan’s war history, and nearly all was displayed in English, Chinese, Korean or Japanese.
Location: 3-1-1 Kudanshita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo