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明治神宮 Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

  • Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
  • Shibuya / Harajuku / Aoyama Area
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Shibuya / Harajuku / Aoyama Area
1-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 151-8577, Japan
  • Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
Date of post:2015/09/28

One of the most well-known Shinto shrines in Japan

  • Temple / Shrine

Located near teenage town Harajuku, since 1920 Meiji Jingu shrine stands quietly and sacredly in the middle of a man-made forest. Many Japanese believe in Shintoism which worships nature and great people who dedicated their life to this country. This shrine is dedicated to Meiji Emperor and Empress who made life-long efforts for Japan's modernization. They are the great-grand parents of the present emperor.

After getting off the train at Harajuku station, you will find three big wooden torii gates before entering the main sanctuary, which are the borders of the sacred world against secular world. Before passing second the torii gate, you will find lots of sake (rice wine) barrels on the side of the main street. Sake in our country is treated as sacred water and in Shinto ritual, we sip sake to be purified. Those sake barrels are donation from sake breweries.

When you enter the main sanctuary, you toss the coin and bow twice, clap twice (to tell the Gods you are here) and make a wish with putting both palms together in front of your face. Bow once again when you finish your prayer. You will see lots of ema, votive tablets, donated there, on which people write their wish down.

From New Year’s Eve to January 3, this Shinto shrine is crowded with three million visitors. This is most crowded Shinto shrine in Japan!!

Date of post:2015/04/23

A retreat in the midst of a big city

  • Temple / Shrine

Some people think Tokyo is a big city with only high-rise buildings and little greenery, but it's not true. Actually some people who come to Tokyo are surprised at how much more greenery they could see than any other metropolitan cities. For example, visit the Meiji Shrine. It's located in a huge forest in the middle of Tokyo. Once you enter the grounds, your mind becomes calmer as you walk on the small pebbles. Actually the small stones on the approach play a role to settle your mind down to the main hall before praying. The greenery beside the approach is soothing you as well.

This shrine was built to commemorate and worship the Meiji Emperor who was on the throne from 1867 to 1912 along with his wife the Shoken Empress until he passed away. He was respected by Japanese nationals because of his personality in the midst of the turbulent times during the Meiji period, which led people to build the shrine. Originally kept as a property of the Imperial family, the place was bare land and after the construction of Meiji shrine was planned, many trees were donated from all over Japan and even from overseas, then transplanted. Now we see the forest as very natural, but at first, the authorities had a hard time to grow them as some of the species didn't adapt to the conditions of the area.

Well, paying a visit to a shrine early in the year is a Japanese custom for the New Year's holiday, and Meiji Jingu shrine always holds the first place with over 3 million visitors every year.

One more notable thing here is that, as the increase of the popularity of Shinto wedding these days, if you're lucky you will come across a traditional Shinto wedding on the ground which will be a unique experience.

Restaurants, cafes and souvenir shop can be found too.

Opening hours: Gate - From the sunrise to the sunset
Shops and cafes: Opening hours may vary depending on the cafes and shops.

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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