Meiji Jingu

Here at JapanSauce.Net we want to bring you guides to some of our favorite areas of Japan, so every Monday we will bring you “Monday Morning Trips!” They are short virtual-trips to Japan, so please stop-by each week and enjoy! This week, we travel to Meiji Jingu!

Meiji Jngu (明治神宮Meiji Shrine), is located in the Shibuya area of Tokyo. It is a Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Meiji is located within a forest, which covers about 170 acres of beautiful evergreen area. Access to Meiji is very easy, as it is located right next to Yoyogi Park and two JR Yamanote Line Stations: Harajuku Station and Yoyogi Station. You can get there by walking about 10 minutes.

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Harajuku Station in Tokyo, Japan

You can visit Meiji Jingu from your home with JapanSauce.Net’s two-minute travel video here:

History

Construction began in 1915, and was completed six years later in 1921. The original building was destroyed during World War II, but was then restored and completed in October 1958.

 Notable Features

Meiji is popular with many tourists, as its buildings and structures contain some of the most recognizable Japanese architecture.  This makes it great for photo opportunities.

The northern and southern entrances to the Meiji grounds consist of two enormous torii gates that measure 40 feet high, and are made of 1,500-year-old cypress.

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 Along the path to Meiji, you will find hundreds of sake barrels, called “Kazaridaru” or “decoration barrels”. They symbolize the sake or “o-miki” that is donated by Japanese sake brewers to Meiji, for use in their Shinto ceremonies. They are very colorful, and have many different designs.

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Once you arrive at the main entrance to Meiji, you will pass under another torii gate, but make sure you cleanse your hands and mouth before entering—there is a cleansing station at the entrance.

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Once inside, you will find an area where you can make “Ema”. These are small wooden plaques, on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. If you can’t afford the price of an Ema, don’t worry, as you can still write down your wishes and prayers on a piece of paper and drop them into an offering box with a small donation.

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Next, we arrive at the main Meiji Shrine, where you can also toss some money into an offering box and make a quiet wish or prayer. Whether you believe in the power of prayer or not, you can feel a sense of calm and peace by taking a few spiritual moments at the shrine. Each time I visit Meiji, it is these types of small moments that allow me to truly connect with the spirit of Japan.

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Meiji also has the Meiji Jingu Treasure House, which displays many of the personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress. Entrance costs about 500 yen ($5 US Dollars).

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And finally, you can also visit Meiji’s Inner Garden, which contains many colorful irises, which usually bloom in June. There is a small entrance fee of about 500 yen ($5 US Dollars).

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Events

Meiji is immensely popular during the first days of the New Year holiday, as more than 3 Million visitors arrive to make their “Hatsumode” or “Year’s First Prayer”.

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Meiji is also the location of the January sumo grand champion ring entering ceremony, which always brings an enormous crowd.

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Meiji also celebrates a Spring and Fall festival each year, in May and November, respectively.

Meiji is the most popular location for traditional Shinto weddings, which happen many times each week. If you are lucky, you will get to see a beautiful wedding procession walking across Meiji.

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Hours and Admission

Meiji Jingu:         Free Admission
Sunrise to Sunset
(Get there in the mornings when there are fewer crowds)

Treasure House:    500 yen
9AM to 4:30PM
Closed Mondays from February 16 to June 30

Inner Garden:       500 yen
9AM to 4:30PM

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