A luxury residential area since the Edo period? The reason why Minato has so many temples & shrines
Minato-ku has had areas of high ground since even the Heian period, so many temples and shrines have been built there. In the Edo period, lots of Daimyo's mansions were build there, along with many temples as it was a key security point at Edo's entrance along the Tokaido route. At the end of the Tokugawa period, Japan's first foreign diplomatic establishments were established at four temples including Zenfukuji. In the Meiji period, the Daimyo's mansions were turned into other mansions and embassies. It may not be an overstatement to say that this history is what lead to it becoming the luxury residential area it currently is.
Zenpukuji - Kukai and Shinran were involved in this old temple which became the first foreign consulate of our country
This temple was founded by the Buddhist monk Kōbō Daishi in the year 824, the first year of the Tencho era of the Heian period. Shinran, a monk designated bodhisattva, visited this temple in the Kamakura period. The priest Ryoukai who received him had such esteem for Shinran's virtue that he converted the entire temple complex to Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land School) Buddhism. During the Bakufu (the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate), the first American envoy, Townsend Harris, was received here. This temple, where the bonds of Japanese-American friendship were deepened, was also frequently visited by such eminent figures as Yukichi Fukuzawa and Masuda Takashi, who built the foundation of modern Japan. On the temple grounds, the "Ginkgo Tree at Zenpukuji" has been designated as a protected natural monument, it is over 750 years old.
Akasaka Hikawa Shrine - 8th Tokugawa Shogun Yoshimune's shrine remains here surrounded by nature
By the order of the eigth Tokugawa Shogun Yoshimune, it was transferred to it's current location where the Asano family house was located in 1730. The current shrine was expanded at this time and has been designated as an important cultural asset of Tokyo, escaping many earthquakes and war damage.
Akasaka Hikawa Shrine
One of the ten shrines of Tokyo. Founded in 951 (Tenryaku 5), the current shrine was built in 1729 (Kyoho 14), on the orders of the 8th Tokugawa shogun of the Edo era, Yoshimune. Since then it miraculously escaped being damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake and is designated as a Tokyo cultural property that exists as it did during its original construction. The grounds include great numbers of Edo era sights, from natural monuments to torii gates, stone lion-dog guardians, hanging lanterns and more. It is well known as a marriage shrine, with many weddings held there.
Shiba Daijingū Shrine - Ise of Kanto
Initially it was settled in Īgura-san (present Shiba Park) and was called Shiba Shinmeigū Temple, but was moved in the Keicho period to it's current location and renamed in 1872. In the Edo period, it prospered under the protection of the Tokugawa Shogunate and now enjoys the reverence of many people as the "Ise of Kanto". The festival held in September is famous and called "Daradara festival" or "Shōga festival".
According to the shrine's history, it is one of several ancient shrines in the city used to house the divided spirits (bunrei) of the Ise Shrine during the middle of the Heian Period. It got its name of Shiba-daijingu starting from the Meiji Period, before which it was called by other names including Iikura-shinmeigu and Shiba-shinmeigu. The name of Shiba-shinmeigu is known for the famous "Megumi Fight" that took place in March 1805 inside the shrine, where Kanjin-sumo wrestlers such as Yotsuguruma Daihachi and Mizuhiki Seigorou fought with the Megumi-no-tobi, a group of firefighters who considered the area their territory. Even back then, the Minato ward lying in front of the shrine's gates was a lively business district. During the Edo Period, the shrine was a thriving venue for entertainment such as sumo matches and theatrical performances, which were allowed in the shrine grounds. The theater was a type of Edo-sannomiya theater, and is said to have been first held inside Shiba-shinmei in 1645. In September of every year, the "Daradara Festival", an event supposedly named due to its long duration (daradara means lengthy), is held, during which ginger is widely sold inside the shrine and its vicinity, giving the shrine its nickname as the "Ginger Market". As famous as the "Betterazuke market" of Kodenma-cho, the festival was such an enjoyable event for Edo commoners that it was even depicted in ukiyo-e art. During the festival, ginger, chigibako, and amazake are sold. Chigibakos are oval boxes made of cypress, said to bring additional clothing when put into a cabinet, a good luck charm of sorts, whose name comes from the idea of a thousand pieces of wood (chigi) leading to a thousand pieces of clothing (chigi). Beneath the stairway is a savings mound built to commemorate Makino Motojirou's achievements in establishing the Real-estate and Savings Bank (Fudo-chokin-ginkou).
Zojoji - The family temple of the Tokugawa Shogunate
Sengakuji - the temple where the 47 Ronin sleep
The famous Sotozen temple was built by Ieyasu Tokugawa in the year 1612. Home to the tombs of the Asano clan and the Forty-Seven Rōnin of the Akō Incident, visitors can also see various objects and landmarks related to these legendary warriors, such as the Chikara-no-Ume plum tree. The Gishi Festival, which takes place on December 14th, the anniversary of the Akō Incident, attracts many visitors from all over Japan. Additionally, the Spring Gishi Festival takes place here from April 1st to 7th.