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The National Diet Building was built in 1936. It is about 65.5 meters (215 feet) high and takes up 103 square meters (1108.7 square feet) of space. There are two free tours available: the first one is offered by the House of Representatives (this tour is not offered on Saturdays, Sundays and a holidays) and the second one is offered by the House of Councilors. In these tours, you will see the lobby, conference hall and central hall of the National Diet Building. You don’t need to book in advance if you're going with less than nine people.
A Zen temple and a Shinto shrine (dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of harvests) co-exist on this site. This scenario was common until the Meiji restoration, when temples and shrines were officially separated. In the compound is a small shrine in honor of a famous Edo Period administrator, Tadasuke Ohoka. Two fox statues flank the main temple, which is protected by many small Inari shrines.
Both nagare and gongen style architecture are represented in these austere buildings, reflecting the taste of Yoshimune Tokugawa, the shogun who is associated with this shrine. A pair of splendid gingko trees greets the visitor at the top of the stone-stepped approach. Kaishu Katsu, who was pivotal in the smooth transition of the Meiji Restoration, lived in the vicinity of the shrine and even used its name in the title of his memoir, "Hikawa Sewa" (Pure Talk from Hikawa).
Directly in front of the main entrance of Hotel Okura's parking lot is Kihachiro Okura's contribution to the museum world. Set in an exquisite Japanese-style building and established in 1917, this private museum is notable for being the first of its kind in Japan. Changed seasonally, the eclectic collection includes screens, Noh masks and costumes, ancient books, paintings, ceramics and imposing sculptures.
This sub-shrine of the Kyogoku family's famous Kotohiragu Shrine on the island of Shikoku, is nestled in the congested Tokyo business district of Toranomon. A branch of the Kyogoku family moved to Tokyo in 1679 and established this shrine in honor of the seamanship and navigation god, Kompira-san. Fortunately the bombing in 1945 did not demolish the splendid torii gate, which is plated in copper and dates to 1821. The shrine has become a popular place to get good luck charms.
The shrine compound includes a fine example of Western architecture constructed during the Meiji period. It is famous as the site where General M. Nogi and his wife chose to kill themselves after the Meiji Emperor's death. The shrine was opened soon after this event but was destroyed during the 1945 bombings. Today the attractive garden on the grounds is the site of monthly flea markets.
The Suntory Museum was founded by Keizo Saji in November 1961. The collections include paintings, lacquer ware, glassware, ceramics and dyed fabrics. The works are based on the theme of "beauty in everyday life." However, the 3,000 art pieces are not on permanent display.
Displays depicting the history of Japan's famous drink, sake, are featured in this specialty museum. Not only is sake the national drink but it is a key element in many important Japanese rituals. Sake storehouses enjoy the protection of a guardian god whose common name is "Sakadono-kami." A Japanese Bacchus would surely be pleased with this museum!