Hie Jinja (shrine) is one of the major shrines of Tokyo. The shrine is located on a tree covered hilltop between the neighbourhoods of Akasaka and Nagatacho.
As one of Tokyo’s major shrines, it’s also the kick-off point for one of its major festivals—the Sanno Matsuri.
While most shinto shrines are guarded by dog statues, a unique feature of Hie Shrine is the monkey dieties which guard the shrine.
The shrine is particularly impressive in spring. In front of the main entrance is an old cherry tree which blossoms prodigiously. When the cherry blossoms finish, the wisteria within the main courtyard begin to flower.
Although the main shrine itself is a pleasant and serene place to take a break from the surrounding hustle and bustle, the real highlight is the shrine’s back entrance with a tunnel of 90 bright red torii gates.
If visiting on a Tuesday or Friday, visitors can also enter the Hо̄motsuden (treasure house) — a small museum housing items with a strong connection to the Tokugawa shoguns — for free. The collection includes swords dating from the 17th century, and a perfectly preserved 430 year-old scroll with calligraphy from the skillful hand of the very first shogun of the Edo period — Ieyasu Tokugawa.
In typical Japanese old-meets-new fashion, the main entrance steps have escalators on either side.
The central part of the shrine closes relatively early at 4pm, but the surrounds and the path of torii gates are particularly atmospheric after dark.
Nearby places and attractions
- 159 m from Tameikesannō Station Ginza Line (G6)Namboku Line (N6)
- 368 m from Akasaka-mitsuke Station Ginza Line (G5)Marunouchi Line (M13)
- 395 m from Nagatacho Station Hanzomon Line (Z4)Namboku Line (N7)Yurakucho Line (Y16)