Dozens of Japanese lawmakers made a pilgrimage to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which China and South Korea see as a symbol of Tokyo's militaristic past.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refrained from sending an offering, as he has done in the past.
A total of 61 MPs - mainly from Abe's conservative Liberal Democratic Party - attended the war shrine and 76 sent a representative, said a shrine spokesman.
The shrine honors millions of Japanese war dead, but also senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes after World War II.
Beijing and Seoul view it as a symbol of Tokyo's past aggression.
In October, Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine but did not visit, a move seen as an effort to minimize protests.
The visits come amid tension after North Korea test-fired another ballistic missile that splashed down in the Sea of Japan last week.