Visited by over 9 million people annually, the 2nd largest shrine in Japan, home of one of the Three Sacred Imperial treasures (the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi sword), displaying the longest samurai sword in the world, in the heart of Japan’s 3rd largest city Nagoya is Atsuta Shrine 「Atsuta-jingū/熱田神宮」.

Atsuta Shrine, Nagoya

Atsuta Shrine, Nagoya: Mini Torii Offerings
DMC-LX3 (5.1mm, f/2, 1/30 sec, ISO400)
Atsuta Shrine, Nagoya: Mini Torii Offerings

Situated halfway between Osaka and Tokyo, Nagoya is an often overlooked or totally ignored by tourists to Japan.  Just minutes from the city center, the Atsuta Shrine complex is big. This Shinto shrine has many buildings set among ancient groves, which features at 1000 year old tree.

Many small altars can be found in Atsuta Shrine’s grounds, each dedicated to different kami (spirits that are venerated in the Shinto religion). The mini torii (traditional Japanese Shinto gate) in this photo are offerings to the kami. People buy the plain wooden torii (resembling one of the huge torii at the shrine) and on them write their name and a prayer. This is a practice very common to many Japanese shrines, as any visitor to Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto will see.

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View this location – map coordinates: 35.123, 136.909.

The shrine is most easily accessed by train, and three stations are directly across the road from the shrine grounds.

  • From Nagoya station take the JR Tokaido line to Atsuta station, a 7 minute, ¥180 trip.
  • From Kanayama station take the Meitetsu Nagoya Line to Jingumae (translated literally to “shrine front”), a 2-3 minute, ¥160 trip.
  • Alternatively from Kanayama station take the Nagoya City Subway Meijo Line to Jingunishi (literally “shrine east”), a 4 minute, ¥200 trip.

All stations are within 3-8 minutes walk of the shrine.

Although the Treasure Hall (a museum at the shrine) opens from 9-4:30PM, the shrine is open 24 hours to visitors. It would be a very interesting place to visit at night, lit by lanterns!