This perfect example of Shinto architecture - muted colors and spare lines - was opened in 1920 to commemorate the death of ... More
Meiji Jingu Shrine
This perfect example of Shinto architecture - muted colors and spare lines - was opened in 1920 to commemorate the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912. Surrounded by 72 hectares (178 acres) of shady trees and the various Japanese flora of Meiji Jingu Park, it is one of Japan's most sacred and picturesque shrines. The Imperial Treasury House annex exhibits the coronation carriage and mementos of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.
We were just in Tokyo visiting. And we went to the Meiji shrine on New Year's Eve. Before midnight, somehow (I won't say how exactly we did it), we were able to follow a small group (VIPs?) of about 40 well-dressed people, who came out of a small building (a small temple?) on the side not too far from the Meiji shrine. They were escorted right INTO the Meiji shrine courtyard while millions of people were waiting outside the courtyard. The group formed two lines along the two sides of the courtyard facing the shrine. We witnessed the blessing (of a large tree leaf which I was sure had important significance since the 40 VIPs bowed at it. Please someone explain to me what it was) by two priests. We also saw the two priests walking slowly on the steps inside the shrine towards the top of the shrine. There was also singing (of the Japan national anthem? Please confirm that to me). And we witnessed the hitting of the big drum right at midnight. Followed by the praying of about 10 men in suits (guess they were politicians?) inside the shrine. Was the PM there? Sorry we didn't know what he looked like. Then it was our (the 40 or so VIPs and us) turn to pray inside the shrine. The VIPs (and us) were then escorted to a structure (another shrine? or temple?) on the side of the main shrine. They were taking off their shoes on a red carpet before entering that structure. But we didn't follow them to it and we left. It was a very special and spiritual and sacred moment and we really felt lucky and privileged to be among the 40 or so VIPs who had special and first access to the shrine on New Year's at midnight. Please kindly explain the meanings of what happened to us that night with the VIPs to me. And who were those VIPs? Why did they have special and first access to the shrine on New Year's Eve? From what we saw, it seemed to us the millions of people waiting outside the shrine were not allowed to be inside the courtyard of the shrine at all, let alone the shrine itself. They were just passing through the OUTSIDE of the courtyard. Why weren't they allowed to be inside like the VIPs? Thanks!
It would be a great place to go visit after a day in Harajuku. It is located in a nice peaceful park. It is a nice place to visit if you are in the area, but It is not something that I would go to far out of my way to see. This is just one of many shrines to visit in the Tokyo area.
It is very quiet there, and peace full.
I especally love the the cherry blosms!
And when I get the time, I am so going back!!
The food was good, I loved the shrines, gardens, and how they speak. It was an amasing experience!!!
THe shrine itself is fairly impressive, but the whole area is worth a visit. From nearby Harajuku station, a weekend mecca for young (and weird) Tokyoites, the shrine is a 10 minute walk. Fanning out from here towards Omotesando are a large variety of shops and restaurants. The oreiental bazaar is THE best shop in Tokyo to grab a souvenir. In the opposite direction walking towards Yoyogi park and then on past NHK to Shibuya is a great walk, particularly on Sundays when many bands play on the pavement.
I loved the Meiji Shrine because it was the 1st of many I visited. It's relatively young shrine compared to the others but it is beautiful and wonderfully peaceful. I highly recommend it. It's a stone throw away from the Harajuku Eki!
If you want a hands-on experience of Japanese culture and religion - this is the place to do it. You can take part in the cleansing ritual and even participate in the traditional prayer. You'll see beautiful landscape and many Japanese women and girls in traditional kimono dress. You may even stumble upon a wedding!
Every time I'm in Tokyo for business, I go the park where the Meiji shrine is located. Walking around in the park for hours, visiting the museum of quite modern japanese emperor, located in the north part of the park, going to the shrine and watching the people. There is a nice japanese garden in the park as well. I saw very often weddings there. Leaving the park at the south end you will find a place where the young people make a kind of exhibition of themselves every sunday. They wear crazy clothes, chill out and enjoy the attention they get. Walking into direction of Yoyogi park, you will find a lot of bands playing music on the street.
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