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.
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Spring 2016 to October 2019
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.
2007 to March 2019
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.
2007 to March 2020
Toshogu Shrine is being renovated in stages from 2007 until March 2020. But because only a couple of the shrine's many buildings are affected at any time, the impact on a visit is relatively small and Toshogu remains worth a visit. Renovation on the centrally placed Yomeimon Gate was completed in March 2017.
2008 to March 2020
Kiyomizudera's main hall is covered up from February 2017 to March 2020 for the renovation of its roof. Visitors will be able to enter the main hall during the renovations.
2012 to March 2019
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.
Enryakuji Temple (Hieizan)
2016 to 2026
Enryakuji's main hall is undergoing renovations from 2016 for about ten years. During the renovations, the main hall is covered by scaffolding, but it remains possible to enter the hall.
January 2011 to June 2020
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.
1998 to 2023
The Central Golden Hall is presently being reconstructed and scheduled to be officially unveiled in October 2018. Further reconstruction works around the hall are planned for many years beyond 2018.
2009 to 2022
The castle's former palace buildings are currently being reconstructed next to the main keep until summer 2018, but the construction does not greatly impact a visit to the castle. In addition, the castle's main keep is scheduled to be reconstructed by 2022 and cannot be entered anymore. It is expected to be torn down from 2019.
Peace Memorial Museum
September 2014 to spring 2019
The Peace Memorial Museum is currently undergoing 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 are scheduled to be completed by spring 2019.
Kumamoto Castle suffered serious damage in the earthquakes of April 2016. Many roof tiles fell, foundations were damaged, walls crumbled and entire structures collapsed. The inner grounds are currently closed to the public; however, it is possible to look at the massive fortress from the outside. The castle's main keep is scheduled to reopen to the public in spring 2021, while the rest of the grounds are expected to require about 20 years to be fully repaired. The main keep is scheduled to remain partially covered in scaffolding until autumn 2019.
From 2013 for about ten years
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.