Atago Shrine – the Highest Shrine in Tokyo
Atago Shrine is the highest shrine in Tokyo and a lovely retreat from the city below. Take a look at our guide before making the climb.
Atago Jinja is a shrine in the center of Tokyo near Toranomon, known for its long, steep and ancient stone staircase. Atago Shrine is small but pleasant, with a rustic feel a world away from the modern streets below. It features a pond and a restaurant and although its view has long been obscured by the surrounding buildings, the shrine could fool you into thinking you were somewhere else altogether.
Atago Shrine Overview
The construction of Atago Shrine began in 1603 by order of legendary shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Located at the top of a 29-meter hill, the highest natural point of the 23 wards of Tokyo, it offered at that time a clear view of all Edo and distant Mount Fuji. The shrine originally served a practical purpose as a lookout post for fires in the city, a common occurrence that threatened city-wide devastation. Fittingly, the main spirit worshiped at the shrine is fire god: Homusubi no Mikoto. Nowadays, unfortunately, the surrounding buildings block the view in the most part.
Other gods traditionally worshiped here are also Mizuhanome no Mikoto, a god of water, Ōyamazumi no Mikoto, a god of mountains and Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, a god of the military.
Legend states that a young and ambitious samurai rode his horse up the stairs to deliver a plump blossom branch to the shogun in a show of loyalty and bravery. As a result of this feat, the stairs were baptized Shussei no Ishiden, literally “stone steps success”.
When you climb the stairs, always climb to the left or right as the center is considered the path of the gods. Upon reaching the top, you will pass through a small torii gate into a charming Shinto courtyard complete with a koi carp pond.
Disabled access is available a few meters from the foot of the stairs.
Address: 1−5−3 Atago, Minato, Tokyo
Phone: +: 81 3-3431-0327
Atago Shrine Access
By train/subway: 5-minute walk from Onarimon, Toranomon and Kamiyacho stations.
Onarimon Station (Toei Mita Line I06)
Toranomon (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line G07)
Kamiyacho (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line H05)
Period of visit
The temple is open from 10am until 3pm