© 2014

Geography of Religion in Japan

Religious Space, Landscape, and Behavior


Part of the International Perspectives in Geography book series (IPG, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Keisuke Matsui
    Pages 17-37
  3. Keisuke Matsui
    Pages 39-131
  4. Keisuke Matsui
    Pages 133-193
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 195-199

About this book


This book discusses modern aspects of Japanese religion in terms of cultural geography. To understand the function of religion, it is essential to examine it in the context of local societies. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese religion is its diversity; indeed, it is often remarked that “Japan is a museum of religions.” In this work, the author clarifies some geographical aspects of the complex situation of Japanese religion. Chapter 1 discusses the trend of geographical studies of religion in Japan, of which four types can be identified. Chapter 2 focuses on certain characteristics of Japanese religious traditions by discussing tree worship and the landscape of sacred places. Chapter 3 clarifies regional divisions in the catchment areas of Japanese Shintoism by analyzing the distribution of certain types of believers. The author discusses two case studies: the Kasama Inari Shrine  and the Kanamura Shrine. Chapter 4 discusses some modern aspects of sacred places and tourism through two case studies. The first part of the chapter focuses on changes in the types of businesses at the Omotesando of the Naritasan Shinshoji-Monzenmachi, and the following sections examine the revitalization of the local community through the promotion of religious tourism.


Geography of Religion Japanese Religion Pilgrimage Japan Sacred Place Japan Shinto Shrines Tourism Japanese

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Advanced Research A307University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

Bibliographic information


“This is a data-rich study that shows the complexities of faith in local settings in Japan not only spatially, but temporally as well–as new global forces, like the possibility of receiving World Heritage Site Status, transform the way people understand local manifestations of the sacred as a cultural resource. This is … for serious researchers interested in Japanese religion, sacred geography, and pilgrimage and religious tourism.” (Mark MacWilliams, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 42 (1), March, 2016)