The Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyodo, Tokyo, Japan honors those who died fighting for the Emperor of Japan prior to 1951. Under Shinto beliefs, this shrine houses the spirits of all those who perished in conflicts while serving the emperor. Shinto followers believe enshrinement provides rest and peace to those honored.
In addition to serving as a religious Shinto site, the shrine includes a Japanese World War II museum and statues honoring the sacrifices of mothers and animals during various Japanese conflicts throughout history. The shrine hosts numerous celebrations throughout the year, such as seasonal festivals and holiday events.
The grounds housing the Yasukuni Shrine include several smaller shrines, additional structures, and distinctive Japanese features such as torii and gates along the causeway and throughout the grounds. The Yushukan serves as a museum and contains a collection of arms and weaponry used by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The grounds also contain several memorial statues and monuments dedicated to both military heroes and others honored for their service or contributions to peace. The Shinchi Teien provides visitors with a strolling garden designed in the Japanese style with a central pond and waterfall. Finally, the grounds also feature a dove cote, sumo ring and the Nogaku-den for presentation of Noh plays.
The Yasukuni Shrine contains a registry of enshrined men and women numbering nearly two and a half million names. The registry includes those who died during wartime as well as those who died in other types of service.
In addition to soldiers or warriors, the list includes relief workers who provided battlefield support as well as those supporting war efforts at home in factories and other critical industries. The enshrined also include non-Japanese casualties from South Korea and Taiwan.
Visitors to the Yasukuni Shrine can get a sense of the rich history of Japanese military forces along with the pride felt by those who died serving the Japanese Emperor. In addition, the beautiful setting, grounds and additional features give visitors a taste of Shinto beliefs and traditional Japanese culture.
For more information, visit the official website of Yasukuni Shrine.