10 Best Torii Gates in Japan
From Kyoto to Hiroshima, here are Japan’s 10 most picturesque Torii gates
Shrines are one of most attractive sites in Japan to both foreign and Japanese tourists, and some of them are particularly popular as sightseeing spots. There are over 80,000 shrines in Japan, and each with one or more torii gates. Torii gates are usually situated at the approach or entrance of shrines, which marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred world. Besides a simple wooden red torii gate, some of them are so unique and gorgeous, creating amazing scenery and they become the main tourist attraction rather than shrine buildings.
Today, torii gates are one of most popular things to photograph in Japan among foreign visitors such as Fushimi Inari Taisha (the thousands of red torii gates) in Kyoto and Itsukushima Shrine (the gigantic floating torii gate) in Hiroshima.
There are some more torii gates across the country which are still unknown but as spectacular as these two spots. In this article, I would like to share the list of top 10 torii gates existing in Japan today.
1. Takayama Inari Shrine
Takayama Inari Shrine (高山稲荷神社) is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the god Inari and it’s located in Tsugaru City, Aomori Prefecture. The shrine is best known for its remarkable scenery of numerous red torii gates winding through the shrine site and visitors can actually walk through the tunnel of gates.
Access: bus from Gosho Kawahara Station (40 mins)
2. Oarai Isosaki Shrine
Established in 856, Oarai Isosaki Shrine (大洗磯前神社) is the cultural property of Ibaraki Prefecture. One of three torii gates of the shrine stands on a rocks in the sea. With the crashing waves, the torii gate create the dramatic scenery.
Access: 10 mins by bus from Oarai Station
3. Hakone Shrine
The huge torii gate of Hakone Shrine (箱根神社) stands on the shore of Lake Ashi, which is located a few steps away from the shrine site. The torii gate is a popular photo spot and it can be also enjoyed from the distance with the view of Mt Fuji on its background.
Access: 30 mins by bus from Hakone Yumoto Station
4. Shirahama Shrine
The white sand beach is one of the most ideal background for red torii gate to shine. Shirahama Shrine (白浜神社)’s torii gate is situated on the rock at the edge of Shirahama Beach, the popular beach on the southern Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Access: 10 mins by bus from Shimoda Station
5. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) became one of the most recognizable places in Japan ever since it appeared on the movie Memoirs Of A Geisha back in 2005. The shrine is today Kyoto’s most visited tourist site as well as the most photographed place among tourists in Japan. The famous path of red torii gates fascinates millions of visitors all year round. It’s usually pretty busy and recommended to visit in early morning if you wish to take photos without crowds.
Access: short walk from Inari Station
6. Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima
Another icon of the country, the floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) has been one of the most popular tourist sites in Japan. Situated on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima Prefecture, the giant torii gate stands right in front of the main hall of the shrine over the water, which looks like floating in the sea when the tide is high. It’s also one of the biggest torii gates exists in Japan.
Access: Ferry from Miyajimaguchi Station
7. Motonosumi Inari Shrine, Yamaguchi
Motosumi Inari Shrine (元乃隅稲成神社) has been introduced to the world a couple of years ago since it was picked by CNN as one of the most beautiful places in Japan. Over 100 red torii gates stands on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean, which creates an unique and magnificent scenery. It’s not very easy to access by public transport, which makes the shrine even more special.
Access: 20 mins by taxi from Nagato Furuichi Station or Hitomaru Station
8. Sakurai Futamigaura
Sakurai Futamigaura is the beach located at Itoshima City in Fukuoka Prefecture. The beach is famous for the scenic view of Meoto Iwa (the married couple rocks) and the white torii gate stands on the shore. The rocks and torii gate are part of Sakurai Shrine (桜井神社) which is located approx 2.5km away. It’s especially popular spot for sunset watching.
Access: 30 mins by bus from Chikuzen Maebaru Station
9. Eino Shrine
When it comes to “hidden gem”, Eino Shrine (永尾神社)’s floating torii gate must be the one to get the title. The small and quiet shrine is located on an untouristy town of Uto Peninsula, Kumamoto Prefecture, and its torii gate and two stone lanterns display the mystical scenery.
Access: 15 mins by bus from Matsubase Station
10. Ouo Shrine
Ouo Shrine (大魚神社)’s Kaichu Torii (floating torii gate) is located in Tara town in Saga Prefecture. Three gates are built in a line on the Sea of Ariake, and the gates float on the water when the tide is high, creating mystical scenery.
Access: 10 mins walk from Tara Station
Hope you have enjoyed the list! Which torii gate would you wish to visit most? For more great scenic spots in Japan, please check out my other articles, too!