Major renovations and constructions

It is unavoidable that sightseeing spots get periodically affected by minor and sometimes major renovation and repair works, especially wooden historical structures, such as temples, shrines and castles. Furthermore, some local governments in Japan are continuing efforts to restore historical structures which have been lost in the past. As a result, a traveler may occasionally come across a sightseeing spot which is closed for renewal or affected by construction works.

In an effort to help avoiding bad surprises due to constructions and renovations, we are maintaining the following list of Japanese sightseeing spots which are currently (or have recently been) affected by major renovation or construction works. Note however, that this list is not complete and that there might be other major constructions going on at spots not listed below. If you know of one, please use the feedback form further down the page and let us know.

Tokyo
Sensoji Temple
through September 2017
Minor Impact Sensoji Temple's pagoda is being renovated through September 2017 and covered up by scaffolding. However, the works have only a minor impact on a visit to the temple.
Meiji Shrine
Spring 2016 to October 2019
Minor Impact In preparation for the shrine's 100th anniversary in 2020, renovation works are carried out on some of the shrine's buildings from spring 2016 to October 2019. Efforts are made to keep the impact on visitors very low.
Nikko
Rinnoji Temple
2007
to
March 2019
Major Impact The Sanbutsudo Hall, the temple's main hall, is undergoing major renovation works for over ten years. During this period, the temple hall is covered by a huge scaffolding structure, but it remains open to tourists.
Toshogu Shrine
2007
to
March 2024
Major Impact Several of the shrine's many buildings are being renovated in stages from 2007 to 2024. In the third stage, lasting from 2013 to March 2019, the centrally placed Yomeimon Gate and two less important structures are currently being renovated. The gate is covered by scaffolding, but the shrine with its wealth of buildings and carvings is still worth a visit. Furthermore, the famous carving of the three monkeys is currently undergoing renovation until March 2017 and cannot be viewed.
Kyoto
Kiyomizudera Temple
2008
to
2019
Minor Impact Several of the buildings at Kiyomizudera are being renovated step by step over the coming years. Currently, the Okunoin Hall, which is well known for the temple's secondary balcony and the neighboring Amida Hall and Shaka Hall are being renovated. The construction has a certain but not overwhelming impact on a visit. Later in the decade, the main hall will also undergo renovation which can be expected to have a bigger impact on a visit.
Chionin Temple
2012
to
March 2019
Major Impact Chionin's main hall, the Miedo Hall, is undergoing major renovation works that fully started in 2012 and will last until March 2019. During the renovation works, the hall is covered by a large scaffolding structure and closed to visitors.
Nara
Yakushiji Temple
January 2011
to
June 2020
Minor Impact The Eastern pagoda of Yakushiji is undergoing a major renovation over a time period of almost ten years, during which it is covered up by scaffolding. The other buildings are unaffected and still make a worthwhile visit.
Kofukuji Temple
1998
to
2023
Minor Impact The Central Golden Hall is presently being reconstructed and scheduled to be completed in 2018. Further reconstruction works around the hall are planned for many years beyond 2018. Despite the construction works, a visit to Kofukuji is still recommended.
Hiroshima
Peace Memorial Museum
September 2014
to
July 2018
Minor Impact The Peace Memorial Museum is currently undergoing major renovations, during which only one of the museum's two buildings will be open to visitors and the number of exhibits will be reduced. The renovations will be in two stages: from September 2014 to February 2017 the east building will be closed, followed by the closure of the main building until July 2018.
Nagoya
Nagoya Castle
2009
to
2018
Minor Impact The castle's former palace buildings are currently being reconstructed next to the main keep until spring 2018. Because visitors are allowed to closely observe the construction works, they can even enrich a visit to the castle.
Matsushima
Zuiganji Temple
2009
to
March 2018
Major Impact Renovation of the main hall. The hall is wrapped in scaffolding, but as of April 2016, it is possible to enter the hall again.
Hirosaki
Hirosaki Castle
From 2013
for about ten years
Major Impact Major renovation works on the castle's stone walls are carried out from 2013 for about ten years. In a unique procedure, the castle keep was moved by about 70 meters to enable renovation works on its foundation and the surrounding stone walls.

Legend:    closed    major impact    minor impact
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Page last updated: September 17, 2016