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“Definitely a must-see, the museum more than the shrine” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine
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$73.37*
and up
Full-Day Cherry Blossom Tour in Tokyo including Buffet Lunch
Ranked #5 of 259 things to do in Chiyoda
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A large, torii gate stands at the entrance to this shrine built in memory of those who lost their lives defending Japan. Many officials still come and offer prayer annually on August 15, the anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II.
London
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Definitely a must-see, the museum more than the shrine”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013

You should put a visit to Yasukuni near the top of your list of things to do in Tokyo, much more than the nicely situated but somewhat bland Meiji Shrine. Notoriously known in the West as the “War Shrine”, Yasukuni is where (some) Japanese believe the souls of those who had died defending the country rest, Of course, most countries have a Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and, like in Japan, Ministers and other high ranking politicians go to pay respects. Unfortunately, in the late 1970s, the organisation running the shrine (which, unsurprisingly, falls on the far right of the spectrum of Japanese politics) also arranged for the political and military leaders who had planned and instigated WW2 to be honoured, ensuring diplomatic rows and a longstanding political issue for decades to come. Official visits to the shrine remain an emotive and divisive issue in the country, and though some governments tried to make a separate monument for the fallen, these plans went nowhere.

The shrine is pretty much just another shrine, but it’s important to pay a visit to the museum inside the grounds. This museum basically exists to propagate the right wing version of Japanese history, from modernisation through WW2. While this point of view is usually met with snorts of derision in the West, there was a context here – European imperialism, racism, unfair trade treaties, etc. It’s a pretty safe bet that most of Asia would still be ruled by Europeans had Japan not kicked them out. That is not to say that Japanese abuses during the war (towards others and also its own people) should be justified, but that the situation was much more complex than the usual “white hats and black hats” version that most Western people seem to be spoon-fed.

There is a gift shop selling the usual variety of trinkets, though much of the items will not be too interesting if you aren’t fluent in Japanese (for example, there is a good selection of right leaning literature). If it flicks your switch, there are also a lot of books and DVDs on military matters, ranging from WW2 documentaries to promotional stuff for the Japanese air force (though all of this is also in Japanese). There is also a café, though I would highly recommend giving this a pass – it is substandard and overpriced, and basically preys on the elderly Japanese tour groups that visit the shrine in busloads. Don’t be fooled by the “Imperial Navy Curry”, which is an utter rip off.

Visited July 2013
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2 Thank the_green_line
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Seoul, Seoul, South Korea
Level Contributor
68 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“near by hotel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

mind was sorrow, and easy to walk to there. you can think about at sinsa, what is Japanese nationalism, what was a second world war to us

Visited May 2013
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1 Thank whechon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
2,740 reviews
1,446 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,455 helpful votes
“Peaceful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2013

Tip: if you are planing to visit the Imperial Gardens you should take a look. It's very close.
The way to the memorial has simple but beautiful Japanese gates. Very peaceful. We could see some monks around.

Visited June 2013
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1 Thank HelenaGuerra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange, Australia
Level Contributor
266 reviews
199 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
“Lest We Forget”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

Basically, martyrs in the modern Japanese wars are enshrined here and you can learn the war history in the museum Yushukan. As a Japanese, I believe the Japanese people should not forget that the peace of Japan at the present was brought by the victims and more and more Japanese people, especially young people, should pay a visit to this shrine and museum. When I was young, I had mixed feelings about this controversial shrine and, after the visit, I still have mixed feelings about the shrine and, now, the history textbooks I used at school as well. Anyway, the museum is interesting and well worth visiting wherever you are from.

Visited June 2013
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3 Thank misocutlet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
80 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“Controversial Museum worth visiting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2013

I didn't know about the museum till I came to visit the shrine. As a history buff, I was attracted by the artifact being displayed. Then I found myself at the center of a Japanese Far Right Museum. It was amazing how each war was justified. Even the notorious Nanking Massacre was termed Nanking Incident. The only two line description was about how the generals in charge gave strict orders for all soldiers to obey the rules. Even the Hiroshima Museum mentioned that a few thousands people were killed in Nanking and added a comment that others had argued for more.

I would actually encourage foreign visitors to go there. This will help one better understand Japan, of its past and its present political situation.

Visited June 2013
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1 Thank 4Walkers
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