Kanda Myojin Shrine – a Shrine of Samurai Rebels, Prosperity and Festivals

Close to the Imperial Palace, Kanda Shrine is home to one of Tokyo's big 3 Shinto festivals and as one of the city's oldest, it has a long and fascinating history.

Kanda Myojin Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo’s Kanda district, close to the Imperial Palace. Constructed in 746 in Otemachi, the shrine was moved to Kanda-dai in 1603 and to its current site in 1616. As one of the city’s first, the Tokugawa Shogunate paid particular respect to this shrine, which was also made use of by the samurai class and ordinary Edo citizens alike. 

Three ‘kami’ (god) are enshrined at Kanda Myojin: Daikokuten, Ebisu and Taira no Masakado. Daikokuten and Ebisu are both gods of fortune, making it a popular place for people to pray for wealth and prosperity. Out of respect for his noble defiance, locals enshrined Masakado – a samurai rebel against the Heian government – at the shrine, elevating him to the level of a god.  

Kanda Shrine Overview

Photo Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA via Flickr cc

Zuishin-mon, the shrine’s main gate, makes for a formidable entranceway befitting a shrine of such importance. Beyond, find a medium-sized temple complex surrounded by a further 9 shrines. The shrine is notable for its high volume of Torri gates within the grounds, including a rare example of a green Torri. Also find statues and monuments to patrons and deities, including the aforementioned Masakado and Zenigata Heiji, a fictional policeman who’s beat was said to be “beneath the Kanda Shrine.” 

The shrine is well kept and calm, despite its proximity to the crowded Kanda and Akihabara. 

Anime Ema Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut via Flickr cc

Anime Ema Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut via Flickr cc

It is also popular among anime and tech fans (from nearby Akihabara) who use the shrine to bless gadgets against harm and leave their mark by decorating “ema” (small wooden plaques usually inscribed with wishes and hopes) with anime-style designs and motifs.  

Charms Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson viq Flickr cc

Charms Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr cc

Kanda Matsuri (Festival)

Kanda Matsuri is one of three major Tokyo Shinto festivals celebrated in mid-May, nationally recognized for its grandeur and popularity. The festival takes place in odd-numbered years, filling the shrine and surrounding area with life.  

Photo Credit: Marufish via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Marufish via Flickr cc

On Saturday, an enormous collection of floats, musicians, performers and Shinto priests on horseback parade down the streets, flanked by traditionally dressed locals and curious visitors both. On Sunday, over 200 portable shrines (mikoshi) appear to float down the streets on a sea of people. A spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. 

Dating back to the early 17th century, Kanda Matsuri began in celebration of the famous victory at the battle of Sekigahara. A feat that eventually led to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate. 


Address: 2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyohone: 03-3254-0753 

Telephone: +81 03-3254-0753 

Access to Kanda Shrine 

Photo Credit:  Syohei Arai [GDL] via wikimedia commons

Photo Credit: Syohei Arai [GDL] via Wikimedia Commons

Access: Tokyu Metro Marunouchi Line to Ochanomizu Station (plus a 5-minute walk)

Visitor Information

Opening Times

Open 24/7, all year round. 



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Ines Smaili

Ines Smaili

Hi, I'm Inès, I love to travel all around the world especially in Japan, I will share with you all the information needed to have the best trip of your life!

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