One of Japan's three most important Shinto shrines, Atsuta Jingu is the religious heart of Nagoya , and was reportedly founded 1,900 years ago. The fertile Owari Plain has inspired locals to see the shrine as the protector of agriculture, and many of the festivals and divine services here focus on cultivation.
Legends are at the core of this shrine's appeal, with the tale of a sacred relic and the influence of the gods among them.
Atsuta Jingu is the second-largest shrine in Japan
The shrine receives millions of visitors every year
Atsuta-jingu Shrine is easy to reach by train.
The shrine is a five-minute walk from Jingu-mae Station on the Meitetsu Line, or a 12-minute walk from JR Atsuta Station on the JR Tokaido Line. Both lines can be accessed from Nagoya Station .
When the god Susanoo had to slay an eight-headed serpent, he did so with the help of his legendary sword, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. Some 1,900 years ago, that sword, one of the three items of the Imperial Regalia of Japan, was enshrined here at Atsuta Jingu.
Unfortunately, you cannot see the sword itself, since only the emperor and a few select priests are permitted access to such fabled treasures. Nonetheless, there are still many reasons to visit this magnificent shrine.
Atsuta Jingu is set within a sprawling, sun-dappled cedar grove. As you wander through the trees—the scent of foliage mingling with incense—you'll find yourself forgetting all aspects of modern life outside the shrine walls.
After exploring the imposing main shrine, stroll the grounds and discover hidden places of worship in the form of miniature shrines tucked away in secluded corners and copses. Keep an eye out for romantic couples dressed in their very best, since Atsuta Jingu is a popular spot for ceremonies and photos.
Atsuta Jingu's stature as a shrine for the powerful is reinforced by the remains of a wall donated by the mighty samurai warlord Oda Nobunaga. If you feel your own power waning, head to the Kiyome Chaya teahouse to refuel with green tea and Kiyome mochi rice cakes.