Confucius (Eq, Kōshi) was a Chinese philosopher who lived in China from 551 to 479 BC. His teachings, known as Confucianism (, Jukyō), have had a deep impact not only on China but also many neighboring countries, including Japan.

Confucianism is one of the three traditional Chinese religions, besides Taoism and Buddhism. According to early Japanese writings, it was introduced to Japan via Korea in the year 285 AD. Some of the most important Confucian principles are humanity, loyalty, morality and consideration on an individual and political level.

During the Edo Period (1603-1867), Neo-Confucianism (especially Chu Hsi Confucianism) was the most important philosophy in the Tokugawa government and education. It had a prevalent impact on Japanese society at the time, and its influences can still be felt today.

The following are some sites related to Confucius and his teachings around Japan:

Yushima Seido

Yushima Seido is one of only a handful of shrines in Japan that are dedicated to Confucius. Located in Tokyo's Kanda district, the complex used to be a leading center of Confucian studies during the Edo Period. The shrine buildings are covered in black lacquer, making for a unique, striking appearance. The grounds are open everyday and feature a bronze statue of Confucius. The interior of the main hall, however, is only open on weekends and holidays.

Nagasaki Confucius Shrine

The Nagasaki Confucius Shrine in Nagasaki is another shrine dedicated to Confucius in Japan. The path from the main gate to the shrine is flanked by 72 stone statues of Confucius' disciples, and behind them are two long marble slabs carved with text from his teachings. The Historical Museum of China can also be found here.

Ashikaga Gakko

Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from October to March)
Closed: Third Wed of each month (except in Nov when it is the second Wed) or next day if Wed is a holiday; December 28-31
Admission: 420 yen
Ashikaga Gakko, near Ashikaga Station in Tochigi Prefecture, was established in 832 and is the oldest school in Japan. The teachings of Confucius formed the core syllabus taught here which attracted students from all over the country. The site has preserved buildings showing classic architecture and gardens.