I didn’t visit Nezu shrine my last go around, and my sister was there on her first Japan adventure, so I thought let’s do it, it could be our first time, together. Nezu shrine has this cool pathway of uneven torii gates and as I researched it, I heard time and time again that you were most likely not going to get a photo of those mesmerizing toriis without people in the shot
Is it possible to visit such a shrine and have it almost to yourself? Why yes, yes it is. And this was even during peak week of Sakura season. I’m pretty sure there was some kind of festival that was happening this day, too, as there were a couple of vendor looking tables setting up when we were getting ready to leave.
The secret? Go early. I’m not even talking 6:00 AM, I would just say if you can make it before 10, you’re probably going to be in pretty good luck. But we got there about 8:45 AM, so just before nine, and there was literally one other person there praying. We stayed about 30 minutes or so, and a few more people came in while we were there, but not enough to ruin a single shot I wanted to take.
The downside to going this early is you can’t get into the additional garden, because it didn’t open until 10, I believe. Is it still worth it? Well that is entirely up to you. You can still get a look at the garden without entering into it, and if you’re overwhelmed by crowds at this point in your vacation, you can make that decision if missing the garden is worth it to you. To me, it was worth it.
The grounds aren’t particularly large, so it doesn’t take long to check it all out. I am really glad we went early and got to enjoy the serene atmosphere in the quiet morning, and soak it all in.
If you take the metro to Nezu station, it’s not a very far walk and there are signs to point you in the right direction. You’ll see the classic large torii when you arrive, so you’ll know you’re there. Head on down to enter the jinja grounds.
There’s a babbling koi pond with adorable turtles, some fighting a little bit for a good spot on the rocks to bathe in the sun. Really, I saw one pushing another down! But my goodness are they cute.
The line of torii gates are really cool, and I imagine are still cool to see when there’s a crowd of people. But if you have the chance to go early when there isn’t going to be as many people, then maybe check it out. I mean look at these cool shots.
The grounds have some nice scenery and it was nice to sit and have a little rest on one of the benches. Again, the gardens weren’t open yet by the time we left, so if you get the chance to check them out, let me know what you thought!
There are two entrance/exits to the ground, we left out the opposite way we came and walked around enjoying the cute area for a while before google mapping our way to the closest station of where we ended up at.
I wouldn’t recommend needing too much time to check this one out, unless there is some kind of festival going on while you’re here that you might want to stay longer for. If you’re on time zone change and wake up early, but find that not many places in the area wake up as early as you do… then why not take a little trip down to Nezu shrine?
Have you been to Nezu shrine? Was it busy when you went, or did you get lucky and beat the crowd?