Discover Meiji Tokyo with The Travel Tester today! While the Senso Ji Temple in the Asakusa neighbourhood of Tokyo was already impressing, Meiji Jingu (a shrine dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken) is perhaps even more beautiful.
You can find this temple just outside of the JR Yamanote Line‘s Harajuku Station, next to Yoyogi Park. While the area around the temple is densely built-up, here you can find a little bit of tranquility within. Take a stroll with us and we’ll show you what to expect:
Meiji Tokyo Shrine in Shibuya
The Meiji Shrine Tokyo was completed in 1920, but it got destroyed (as most buildings in Tokyo) during the Second World War. Luckily, it was rebuilt shortly after and is there today in its full glory to enjoy for us.
Coming from Harajuku station, the first thing you’ll spot is the massive wooden torii (gate). As soon as you enter through the gate, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful forest.
During your stroll to the shrine, you’ll spot these beautiful barrels of sake. Now that’s a gift we’d like to get!
These two photos were taken in 2006, when I was here in Fall -the colours are amazing, right?
At the end of your stroll, you will see another torii just before entering the actual shrine, as my 2006-self shows you here :)
Eye for Detail
One of the most amazing features about the Meiji Tokyo Shrine, I believe, is that the buildings have so much detail. You can look at it for hours and still see new things!
A glimpse of the ‘real world’ out there
In the main building, on the right hand side, you’ll see a massive taiko drum. If you’re lucky and there is a ceremony going on, you can see someone using it, which is really quite impressive
At the entrance gates of the Meiji Shrine Tokyo, you will find these basins where your can ‘purify’ yourself
Make a Wish
Ema are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. You hang them up at the shrine, so the kami (spirits or gods) can receive then.
On the back of the plaques you can find pictures of animals or other imagery, or they have the Japanese characters for the word gani (wish) on them. At Meiji Jingu, you can buy these wooden plagues from the little boots on the complex, although I think I remember there were some lying around where you can use a donation box as well.
Wedding at the Meiji Shrine Tokyo
I have to say that every single time I visited the Meiji Shrine, I have been lucky as there was a wedding going on. The last time, there were even two going on at the same time!
The families just walk straight through the tourists, all done with grace and patience, and after the group passed (and the tourists are done taking quick snaps), life returns to normal again. Pretty magical to see!
The mother of the bride wears a tomesode: a formal, black kimono embroidered with colorful designs
Below photos of the second wedding we saw this year, here the bride wears a different type of dress:
The men wear a dark suit (preferably black) with a white tie. Never a black tie, as they are for funerals!
The bride wears a traditional Japanese wedding kimono called uchikake with a white headdress. I read on another website that the headdress is supposed to hide the bride’s ‘horns’ as a symbol of submission. Ok.
Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuya
Opening Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, no closing days
Entrance Fee: No Charge
At the Northern end of the shrine grounds, you will come across the Meiji Jingu Treasure House, which displays many personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress.
Opening Hourse: 9AM to 4:30PM
Entrance Fee: 500 Yen
We didn’t visit this, but a large part of the South section of the Meiji shrine is taken up by the ‘Inner Garden’. If you go here in the middle of June, you’ll see the full bloom of the irises in this garden.
Opening Hours: 9AM to 4:30PM
Entrance Fee: 500 Yen
Website Meiji Tokyo
Read this Meiji Jingu Booklet in our Brochure Rack
This post is also available in: Dutch