Kando Myojin was founded in 730 CE making it one of the oldest shrines in the Tokyo. Today it draws quite a diverse crowd including businessmen, animation lovers and IT people. I think it is a fabulous place to visit as there is a lot to see and a lot to photograph.
It is also one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines. I think there are four reasons that have contributed towards that fame. Three are due to the deities that are enshrined there. The fourth reason is its location.
You might know, or you might not know, that Kanda Myojin is popular with businessmen in Tokyo. Companies send representatives to the shrine to pray for their success. Individual businessmen will pray there for their success. Go there on any working day and you will see lots of people in business wear there.
And that is all thanks to two deities that are enshrined there – Daikoku (also known as Onamuchi-no-mikoto) AND Ebisu (also known as Sukunahiko no Mikoto). Both of them have extensive portfolios that they are responsible for, but they have one thing in common – they are deities of business. AND both of them are often paired together because they bring good luck! That might be a pretty compelling reason why this shrine is so highly regarded for business.
The third deity (or demigod maybe) is Taira no Masakado, a samurai. He was executed for trying to overthrow the Emperor in 940. Due to the level of respect he commanded he was enshrined at Kanda Myojin and his spirit is said to watch over the area. Apparently, it is also said that to neglect his worship will see Tokyo affected by ill fortune (natural disasters etc). As no one wants anything bad to happen to the city, due to an unhappy spirit, the shrine is well-maintained.
As for the location, Kanda Myojin is near Akihabara, the capital of animation, IT/computing and idol groups in Japan. As they are within easy walking distance of each other many people from IT companies and otaku also visit the shrine. You’ll find some ema have animation themes and you can even buy an omamori (protective amulet) especially for IT-related things.
The shrine is also known for its monument to Zenigata Heiji, a fictional policeman; a green torii; the number of smaller shrines around it, lots of komainu (lion dogs to protect shrines) and cherry blossoms in spring. It also has a very pretty Zuishin gate with Irimoya roof and guardian deities inside. There is a lot to photograph there.
Kanda Myojin is a great shrine to visit in Tokyo and it won’t take up a whole day. It is also close to Akihabara, Yushima Seido and lots of other stuff around Ochanomizu. If you love shrines it should be on your list of places to visit. Several great festivals are also held there, and I hope to photograph them one day. You can see the shrine’s (Japanese) website here.
How to get to Kanda Myojin
There are several stations close to Kanda Myojin, but the closest is JR Ochanomizu, about a five-minute walk. The other stations nearby are Akihabara, Suehirocho and the Ochanomizu Metro (subway) station.
Here is a Google map:
Cost of admission
Kanda Myojin is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enoy:
Fire Museum – a museum that gives tribute to those who fight fires in the city
Inokashira park – a place for everyone to relax
Tokyo Kite Museum – a mecca for kite lovers
Yanaka Cemetery – resting place of Japan’s last shogun
Zojoji – one of Tokyo’s most popular temples