One of the main shrines of Tokyo since centuries ago, the shrine was once part of the Imperial Palace, and the deity of Hie was also the protector of the castle. The shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu moved it to the grounds of the Edo, and later, Tokugawa Hidetada moved it out of the castle so all citizens of Edo (old name of Tokyo) could worship their faith in the shrine, and the deity became protector of Edo. Though it has been rebuilt through history few times, being the last after the American air bombing during WWII.
Hie is a Shinto shrine. The large torii before the access to the shrine from both sides at the base of the hill mark the entrance to the sacred grounds. Its location, being built in a top of the hill, and out of the mainstream routes, makes it unadverted to the eyes of tourists and visitors. The deity of Hie shrine is Oyama-kui no kami, the god of mount Hie in Shiga prefecture. The Shinto sacred animal of Hie shrine is the monkey, related to family, good parenting and childbirth, so many families come here to pray for their families. Hie shrine also holds one of the biggest festivals of Tokyo, the Sanno matsuri, around June 15th.
The shrine also keeps one of the sacred Japan treasures, a tachi sword, and several other cultural treasures. The side shrine is dedicated to Inari, and one of the most valued spots of the shrine grounds is the side stairs on the other side, a passage of red torii to the streets.
how to get there
By Marunouchi line and Ginza line, at Akasaka-Mitsuke station, just a 2 minute walk to the main entrance.