[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons”]
Tokyo’s Harajuku neighbourhood is famous for its loud street fashion (embraced by singer Gwen Stefani, among others), but it’s most popular attraction is hardly a household name. The tranquil Meiji Shrine attracts roughly 30 million annually, as does the Sensoji Temple, making them the world’s most-visited sacred sites.These Japanese sites no doubt benefit from their location in Tokyo, a major metropolitan area and significant tourist destination. Most of the local population adheres to Shintoism or Buddhism or both, and religious and cultural traditions encourage families to go to shrines and temples at least once or twice a year, especially around New Year’s, a time calledhatsumode.
While each religion has its holy seasons, there’s always a reason to visit these sites, whether you’re intrigued by the history, art, or simply following a packaged tour. Whatever the day, you’ll find Catholics attending mass at Mexico City’s Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (No. 3), among casual tourists and others who’ve traveled here expressly to pay their respects to an image of the Virgin Mary.