Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Shrines and Temples in Okayama Prefecture

So you are planning a trip to Okayama Prefecture and are curious about which shrines and temples should be on your list to visit? Well, you are in luck! We have done the research for you. Here is our list of Okayama Prefecture’s most unique shrines and temples and why!

Saijō Inari (最上稲荷山妙教寺)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

Saijō Inari is fascinating because it is one of the only religious spots in Japan that combines Shintoism with Buddhism and is one of the Three Major Inari Shrines in Japan. The shrine’s enormous Torii Gate, which stands 27.5 meters tall, is just magnificent.

Besides its gorgeous Japanese garden, you can also hike to the inner shrine for some spectacular scenery.

For more information, please refer to our Saijō Inari article.

Yokeiji Temple (餘慶寺)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

Yokeiji Temple in Setouchi City was erected in 749 AD. Once a vast and prominent temple, Yokeiji remains one of the biggest temples in Okayama Prefecture.

Several public national and prefectural artifacts in the precinct and some precious works of art can be viewed during the temple’s treasure exhibition in October. Yokeiji Temple is also known for the variety of flowers blooming on the temple’s ground and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

For more information, please refer to our Setouchi City article.

Kiyama Temple (医王山 木山寺)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

Next up is Kiyama Temple in Maniwa City. Originally built in 815 AD, the Kiyama Temple is special for its amazing architecture, especially the temple gate from the Edo period. Be sure to visit the temple right before noon to hear the head of the temple bang a drum, signaling meal time. With an overall vibe of serenity and peace, Kiyama Temple is worth visiting, especially in the autumn months when the foliage is spectacular.

For more information, please refer to our article on Maniwa City.

Fukuda Shrine (福田神社)

© Maniwa Tourism Bureau

If you plan to visit the Hirzen Highlands (which we recommend), stop by Fukuda Shrine. One of the highlights of the Fukuda Shrine is an enormous 650-year-old ginkgo tree that turns golden yellow in the fall.

In the summer, over 1,000 fireworks lit up the night sky are launched from Fukuda Shrine during the Hiruzen Fireworks Festival. After the fireworks, Fuduka Shrine holds a performance of the traditional Ōmiyaodori dance for entertainment.

For more information, please refer to our Hiruzen Highlands article.

Kayabe Shrine (茅部神社)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

Another amazing shrine to visit in the Hirzen Highlands is the Kayabe Shrine. The torii gate is the biggest gate made of stone at 13 meters tall and was built in 1863. The main highlight of the Kayabe Shrine is the beautiful 1 km approach lined by cherry trees that bloom gorgeously in spring.

The cherry blossoms at Kayabe Shrine are usually in full bloom in mid-April and form a flowering tunnel that is lit up at night. Just imagine the amazing photos you can capture at the Kayabe Shrine!

For more information, please refer to our Hiruzen Highlands article.

Karube Shrine (軽部神社)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

The Karube Shrine is known as one of the hidden gems of Sōja City and is home to one of the most unique ema wooden plaques in Japan.

As with most shrines, Ema plaques with prayers written on the back are hung at the side of the shrine. What makes the ema so special at Karube Shrine is that it has female breasts attached to it at the front!

If you are wondering why since this seems like a really odd thing to see at a shrine, refer to our article on Sōja City!

Iyama Hōfukuji Temple (井山宝福寺)


Another interesting temple in Sōja City is the Iyama Hōfukuji Temple. The unique aspect of the Zen Buddhist temples is that there are a few statues in which a monk is tied up, and a mouse is always a part of the statue.

If you want to know the story behind these seemingly unfitting statues, please refer to our Sōja City article for more information.

Saidaiji Kannon-in Temple (西大寺 観音院)

The Saidaiji Kannon-in in Okayama City pays homage to Kannon Bodhisattva. Erected in 751 AD, the temple has a fascinating history and is best known for its Naked Festival, which occurs on the 3rd Saturday in February. Hundreds of thousands of naked men participate in a 14-day ritual to receive fortune and blessings.

You can also enjoy the temple’s splendid cherry blossom and fall foliage scenery if you come at the right time.

For more information, please refer to our Okayama City article.

Takuraushi Shrine (田倉牛神社)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

The Takuraushi Shrine in Bizen City is one of the few shrines in Japan to worship cows. Visitors to the shrine purchase a ceramic calf statue to gain entrance and offer the calf to the god.

Over time, more and more calves were placed in front of the cow statues, and now more than 300,000 calves formed a small mountain!

If you are interested in the ritual, please refer to our Bizen City article.

Anaba Inari-Jinja Shrine (穴場稲荷神社)

The Anaba Inari-Jinja Shrine Kojima District is famous for its amazing views of the Seto Ōhashi Bridge. In addition, the staircase behind the main worship hall leads you to the rear shrine and a lookout area that offers close-up views of the majestic bridge.

The rear shrine in a huge stone cave is also something that you won’t want to miss out on. Be sure to bring your camera to this one!

For more information, please refer to our article on Kojima District.

Tennō Hachiman Shrine (天王八幡神社)

© Okayama Prefecture Tourism Federation

We have saved one of the best for last. You will want to visit the Tennō Hachiman Shrine in Nimi City at night in early July. For about 10 days, amazing golden fireflies can be seen fluttering around the dark forest. How cool is that?

For more information, please refer to our Niimi City article.

Okayama’s Best Cherry Blossom Destinations

Click the photo to find out the best cherry blossom spots in Okayama!

With gorgeous cherry blossom flowers, spring is one of the best seasons to visit Japan.

But most famous cherry blossom destinations are packed with crowds. So if you don’t want to be pushed around, check out our article on Okayama’s Hidden Cherry Blossom Spots to visit when you come to Japan next time!

Discover the Fall Foilage Destinations in Okayama Prefecture that You Probably Don’t Know

Click the photo to find out the best fall foliage spots in Okayama!

Another perfect season to visit Japan is autumn. The season is longer than cherry blossom, so you are guaranteed some spectacular vivid scenery even if you didn’t spend much time planning.

To find out the awesome places to visit in October and November, please refer to our article on Okayama’s Hidden Fall Foilage Destinations!

The Best Places in Okayama for Flower Hunting

Click the photo to find out the best places to visit to adore flowers in Okayama!

Cherry blossom isn’t the only type of flower that blooms in Okayama. If you plan to visit Okayama at other times of the year, remember to check out our article on the Best Places in Okayama for Flower Hunting!

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