Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo - Stein Travel
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Yasukuni Shrine

To the north of the Imperial Palace lies the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, built to commemorate the Japanese war dead and now regarded as home to the souls of about two and a half million who perished in conflict, mostly in the Pacific War of World War II. Soldiers fought in the knowledge that their spirits would find rest and honour at Yasukuni in the after-life. The shrine has caused controversy for various political reasons over the years since it was built in 1869 in honour of supporters of the emperor, killed in the run up to the Meiji Restoration. More recently, with regard to the country's constitution that requires the separation of State and religion, cabinet ministers have been criticised for attending anniversaries of Japan's defeat in World War II held at the shrine. The shrine is confined behind a huge steel torii gate, opening onto a long avenue lined with gingko and cherry trees. The Worship Hall itself is a simple Shinto style building. North of the shrine is the Yushukan Museum, containing war memorabilia, some of which is disturbing and thought-provoking such as the human torpedo and kamikaze suicide attack plane.

Information & Facts

Address

3-1-1 Kadunkita, Chiyoda-ku

Admission

Museum: ¥800, concessions available.

Language

Japanese is the official language. Most Japanese people will have studied English at school, but few can speak it well or understand what is said to them.

Money

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY), which is equal to 100 sen. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Cash and travellers cheques can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency exchange bureaux. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. Travellers cheques offer the best exchange rate and are best taken in US dollars. ATMs do not accept all credit and debit cards; only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some major stores.

Opening Times

Shrine open 24 hours daily. Museum open daily 9am-5pm (November to February); 9am-5:30pm (March to October).

Time

Local time is GMT +9.

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