Photo: Julian Kloby

Asahi Inari Shrine

A hidden gem among Tokyo’s towering rooftops

Photo: Julian Kloby
Julian Kloby   - 5 min read

When you picture Tokyo, you imagine a bustling city with large crowds, packed streets and towering buildings. Bright lights and a plethora of noises overwhelm the senses and sometimes you may find yourself wanting a quick retreat. Japan, especially Tokyo, is known for having parks and dedicated grounds for shrines and temples throughout the city. If you are looking for them, you’ll find them. Some are quite popular and large while others are small and tucked away among tiny, hidden alleyways. Yet, the large shrines of Tokyo tend to be pretty packed with large crowds consisting of locals and tourists alike. So, where can you go for a quiet retreat while still getting to visit a shrine consistent with the Japanese tradition you're looking for? Look no further than the Asahi Inari shrine, but be careful, you just might miss it.

Long ago before Tokyo was the city it is today, many of the shrines and temples you find were a part of small villages or standalone structures people would travel to. Yet, as the city grew and the population along with it, many of the shrines found themselves quickly surrounded as a result of urban sprawl. As the years go on there is less and less space, especially in the more densely populated prefectures of Tokyo. Many of the shrines were built around and left alone as they are highly respected. However, there were occasions where shrines were moved in order to make way for development, this is the case with Asahi Inari shrine.

Located on the rooftop of a large commercial building in Ginza is where you will find Asahi Inari. However, don't be fooled by what you see on the ground level. The shrine here was built to give locals a quick and easy way to offer their prayers and to mark its location. The real thing lies at the 8th floor of the building and can be a bit tricky to find. In order to access the shrine, you will need to take the elevator to the 8th floor of the building.

This can be found just around the corner; follow the red flags and you’ll get there. Upon reaching the 8th floor you may be a bit confused as the shrine is not right there, instead you’re met with what seems to be the offices of several businesses. Don’t worry though, you’re almost there, to the right is a door leading to a fire escape, go up the stairs and through an outdoor gate and there it is, congratulations, you found Asahi Inari shrine.

The rooftop shrine will be a bit small in appearance, but rest assured, you will find all the typical amenities that you would find at any other shrine. There is a bench to sit and relax, water to rinse your hands and a small torii gate just before the shrine. There are plenty of potted plants offering a stark contrast to the concrete jungle you found yourself in earlier. Inari shrines are known to bring prosperity and good health, even success for businesses. Looking to offer prayers or perhaps you are looking for a quiet escape nestled among Tokyo city, in either case you won't be disappointed. The best part about this shrine is easily its unique location but for many tourists, the journey to find it is often the part that makes it the most memorable.

Julian Kloby

Julian Kloby @u46568

Eastern Washington University student majoring in Journalism/Public Relations. Stating in Tokyo for the time being and look forward to all it has to offer.