Yasukuni Shrine

Although there is much controversy related to Yasukuni Shrine because of the war criminals commemorated there, the koi pond on the grounds has always been one of my favorite places in Tokyo. I spent many pleasant hours there in 2005, and I have wanted to return on each of our subsequent trips, but I was never able to find the time.

On this visit, I purposely selected a hotel within walking distance of the shrine, and we visited it twice. Our first visit was in the late afternoon. There were a couple of other people at the pond, but we soon had it all to ourselves - a rare occurrence anywhere in Tokyo. Just then a slightly agitated guard appeared and told us we had to leave because the shrine had closed 15 minutes earlier.

We apologized profusely and began walking toward the exit, but he eyed us suspiciously and followed us closely all the way there. On the other hand, the guard who let us out seemed to be highly amused by the whole incident.

This is one of the entrances to the shrine.

Some pictures of the peaceful pond.

One of us likes to feed koi. The other likes to play with his phone.

This is the massive metal torii at the entrance to the park outside the shrine.

We returned to Yasukuni Shrine on a sunny afternoon. I had never noticed before because I was never in Tokyo during cherry blossom season, but there are about 600 cherry trees at the shrine. In fact, the index tree for the area - the one that is used by the Japan Meteorological Agency to officially report the progress of cherry blossom season - is at Yasukuni Shrine.

Below is a picture of the shrine and two more pictures of the koi pond.