The 5 main Japanese temples and shrines in Brazil

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Getting to know new cultures is always rewarding, especially if you can get to know them by going to their place of origin. Brazil is one of those places that, since its foundation as a nation, has been formed over the centuries with immigrants from all continents, each with its own peculiarities, who have contributed to the construction of the diverse Brazilian culture.

One of the particularities of the country is the architecture, which is influenced by various peoples, mainly Europeans. But some foreign architectural influences are less popular, like the Japanese.

Most Brazilians have no idea that Brazil has a few Japanese temples and shrines scattered across its territory, mainly in the southern and southeastern regions.

One of these fantastic temples is located in Ubatuba, a city located at the northern end of the Paulista coast.

Looking for an inn in Ubatuba to get to know the local culture is something very interesting, as travelers find a beautiful city there and can understand more about Japanese culture without having to cross the oceans.

The great advantage of visiting a Japanese temple in Ubatuba is that in addition to learning a lot, it is also possible to rest in a beautiful region of beaches. Also, finding a room to stay in is very simple, just go to booking sites like this one and choose the ideal hostel to enjoy your trip.

In addition to this Ilhabela destination, tourists find a lot of Brazilian culture, which, like Ubatuba, is also found in a beautiful region of beaches.

Eustaquio beach in Ilhabela | Photo: Ilhabela.com.br

Staying in an inn in Ilhabela to enjoy a holiday is simple, not to mention that the island is close to Ubatuba, being possible to reach the place in about 3 hours with a short drive. Choosing an inn in Ilhabela is also very simple: just go to the booking sites and choose the one you like best.

In addition to these two places to learn more about Japanese culture on Brazilian soil, there are other places that are home to fantastic temples and shrines, all in São Paulo.

See below the top 5 Japanese temples and shrines in Brazil:

In general, Japanese temples and shrines are related to religion, so it is very likely that you are visiting one without knowing it, as most Buddhist temples and shrines in Brazil are actually Japanese. Some of them are very popular and, for those who are curious about the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun, it is worth visiting all these temples right here in Brazil.

Templo Kinkaku-Ji

This is probably the most traditional Japanese temple in Brazil. The Brazilian Kinkaku-ji is a near-perfect replica of the Japanese Kinkaku-ji temple of the same name, built in the 14th century and located in Kyoto, or Kyoto, in central Japan.

Brazil Kinkaku-ji Temple |  Photo: Media Commons / Sturm
Brazil Kinkaku-ji Temple | Photo: Media Commons / Sturm

Kinkaku-ji (Japanese 金 閣 寺, Temple of the Golden Pavilion) is also called Rokuon-ji. The entire pavilion, with the exception of the ground floor, is covered in “pure gold” leaf, while on the roof of the pavilion there is a golden fenghuang.

Like its original model in Japan, the Brazilian Kinkaku-ji is golden and also surrounded by a lake populated by colorful carp (koi in Japanese). It is located in the municipality of Itapecerica da Serra, thirty-three kilometers from the capital San Paolo.

For those who cannot leave Brazil to learn about Japanese culture, going to the Golden Pavilion temple is a great tour, as the temple is, in fact, similar to the one in Japan. The wood, the luster and the care with conservation are also faithful to those of the Kyoto temple and, certainly, this wonderful temple of St. Paul is definitely worth a visit. It always opens on Saturdays, starting at nine in the morning.

Torre de Miroku

Located inside Sao Paulo, this is the totally faithful replica of the original Japanese Miroku tower, which is located in the Horyu-Ji temple, in the city of Ikaruga, Nara prefecture. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The original name of the temple is Horyu Gakumonji, or Temple of the Fluorescent Law.

Miroku Tower in Ribeirão Pires |  Photo: Ricardo Becker
Miroku Tower in Ribeirão Pires | Photo: Ricardo Becker

Built by the wooden hardware store during more than 12 years of work, the replica of the Miroku Tower was completed in 2018, in the city of Ribeirão Pires, in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region, located just 40 kilometers from the capital São Paulo.

The Miroku Tower in Ribeirão Pires is 32 meters high and was completely built using the ancient Japanese wood construction technique, which is capable of erecting multi-story monuments without the use of a single nail or screw.

The Japanese technique of inserting wood has intrigued and enchanted designers and architecture enthusiasts from all over the world for centuries and, despite being complicated, it has been very well applied in the construction of the Miroku Tower in Ribeirão Pires.

In the area of ​​75,000 square meters where the tower is located, a chapel (Okunoim), a space reserved for the image of Nossa Senhora Aparecida and an area dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron saint of Japan, were also built. The space also has a Zen garden, a “mini waterfall” and a koi pond.

The Brazilian replica of the tower is perfect! It is worth booking to visit the Ribeirão Pires Tower, which is the only full-size replica of the Miroku Tower in the world.

Templo Nambei Higashi Honganji

This is a Buddhist temple located in Jardim Chapadão, in the city of Campinas, in Sao Paulo. Its predominant architecture and culture is Japanese. This temple has landscapes perfect for taking pictures, such as the beautiful koi pond and a bridge with vegetation similar to Japan.

Nambei Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple |  Photo: Campinas Town Hall
The temple carries out studies and practices of Buddhist teachings, as well as traditional Japanese martial arts | Photo: Campinas Town Hall

Additionally, visitors can learn more about traditional Japanese Buddhism and martial arts, as well as taste original Japanese cuisine.

The temple carries out studies and practices of the Buddhist teachings of the Jodo Shinshu – Shin Buddhism – Pure Land School. Judo, Ninjutsu and Bujutsu lessons are also given.

According to the official website of Nambei Higashi Honganji, the temple is open to the public every second Sunday of the month, starting at 11:00.

Hoozo shrine of the Seicho-No-Ie Do Brasil doctrine

This is not a temple but a sanctuary operating at the Seicho-No-Ie headquarters in Brazil. The doctrine values ​​the care of nature and is entirely based on Japanese culture.

Hoozo Shrine |  Photo: Reproduction / Luiz Setti
Hoozo Shrine | Photo: Reproduction / Luiz Setti

Located in Ibiúna, a municipality in the metropolitan region of Sorocaba, in São Paulo, the place, which is part of the facilities of the Academia de Ibiúna da Seicho-No-Ie Do Brasil, hosts more than 40 annual events and receives over 30 thousand people in its vast structures.

There are four halls, the largest of which has a capacity of over 1000 attendees. The Academy is home to Brazil’s beautiful Hozo Shrine, all built with the traditional architecture of Japanese shrines.

A large red Torii gate guards the entrance to the sanctuary. After passing through the torii, the visitor has to climb a flight of steps to reach the impressive Hozo Sanctuary.

Great red torii gate of the Hozo Shrine |  Photo: Reproduction / TUR ON MAPS
Great red torii gate of the Hozo Shrine | Photo: Reproduction / TUR ON MAPS

The Academia de Ibiúna also houses a prayer temple and another large torii gate, according to the official website of Seicho-No-Ie in Brazil.

The visitor has a lot to see and do in this beautiful place, as well as learning about this relatively new religion in Japan, as well as having contact with many people of Japanese descent.

Kaminoya Iwatoyama – Daijingu do Brasil

Kaminoya Iwatoyama, is located in Arujá, a municipality of the Metropolitan Region of Sao Paulo. The entrance is protected by a large white torii gate, which precedes the stairs to reach the headquarters of Kominoya, whose architecture is inspired by traditional Japanese shrines, and where various religious events are celebrated.

A large white torii gate guards the entrance to the Kaminoya Shrine
A large white torii gate guards the entrance to the Kaminoya Shrine

The beautiful place is called both temple and shrine, however, there is a big difference between these two names for the Japanese, as a temple is the place where Buddhism is worshiped, while a shrine is part of the Shinto belief, a religion native Japan, whose segment is polytheistic, that is, believes in several gods, as well as contemplating the energy and force of nature, as well as worshiping the memory of ancestors.

According to the Wikimapia site, the “Shrine” of Kaminoya is also called Igreja Brasil Dai-Jingu or Igreja Daijingu do Brasil. The site is said to worship the divinity of Japan’s Ise Shrine, which has not been proven as the site is temporarily closed to the public.

Also according to Wikimapia, Kaminoya was completed in 1967. It is also called the Great Temple of Brazil. The temple, or sanctuary, began at the “Kaminoya”, founded in São Paulo by Master Tachibana (real name – Suzuko Morishita), with Bishop Tamotsu Sato as his current successor.

In 1966, the municipality of Arujá was chosen as the seat for having an excellent climate and a pleasant landscape with clear, flowing waters.

Several events are celebrated in the Great Temple of Brazil: Seijinshiki (January), Oomatsuri (April), Jizomatsuri (June), Kurum-Harai (July), Ise Kotaijingu Oomatsuri (September), Ochibafunmi-Matsuri (November) and Toshikoshi-matsuri ( December). These days countless fans from all over Brazil are gathering.

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