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Goin’ Japanesque!

Things to Do in Tokyo: Unusual Destinations, Rooftop Shrines

Once there were many amusement parks on departments store rooftops where children could go and play. However, their numbers have decreased and there are few of these places left in the modern world, places where fathers and children would while the time away together as mothers shopped in the floors below. For some reason, shrines were found together with these play areas, and though most department store amusement areas have been demolished, there are many buildings that even now still have rooftop shrines. We’ll tell you a little about the reasons why these shrines remain on the rooftops of Tokyo’s buildings, hidden in the metropolitan bustle.



Why a shrine on a rooftop?

The shrines on department store rooftops signify prayers for fortune and success in business. Though there are many, many types of gods, the deity most commonly venerated is Inari. Everyone knows about the shrines with red torii (shrine archways). Additionally, the reason the shrines are on the rooftop is so people won’t walk above the gods, which is a breach of religious etiquette.

As a result, this tradition still remains presently, and the shrines found atop established department stores and old buildings have been left where they are. When something is to be newly built on land with a shrine, that shrine is purposely moved to the top of the building.


Finding Rooftop Shrines in Strange Spots -Tokyo-

If you go to classic department stores like Takashimaya, Matsuzakaya, and Mitsukoshi in areas like Ginza, Nihonbashi, and Shinjuku, you’ll be able to see these unusual shrines, and since getting up to them is easy enough, why not take a trip to go check them out? There are others as well, so for those of you interested, they might be something fun to search around for.

1. Shinjuku Odakyu Department Store

2. Shinjuku Isetan

3. Nihonbashi Takashimaya

4. Ginza Matsuzakaya


5. Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi


6. 大広朝日Building, Map


7. Aqua City Odaiba

rooftop-jinja4 ,Behind: Fuji TV building

Related: A Guide to Hatsumoude: A New Year’s Visit to the Shrine

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