Japan: Tokyo (Meiji Shrine/ 明治神宮)

Tokyo is a city full of many wonders but perhaps the most mystifying is the Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine), situated within a forest covering 170 acres right in the middle of a concrete urban jungle. This evergreen forest consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, all donated by people from various parts of Japan when the shrine was first established.

Meiji Jingu is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji, the 122nd Emperor of Japan, and his wife, Empress Shoken (born Masako Ichijo). The Emperor reigned from February 3, 1867 until his death on July 30, 1912. When the Emperor passed away in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. It was decided that a shrine would be built in his honor and an iris garden in Tokyo, which the Emperor and Empress used to visit, was chosen as the building’s location.

Construction of the shrine began in 1915 and it was completed in 1921. The shrine grounds were officially finished in 1926. Unfortunately, the original building was destroyed during the air raids of World War II and the current building was completed in 1958 through a public fund raising effort.

The shrine grounds are made up of two areas: Naien and Gaien. The Naien area comprises the inner precinct/garden and includes the shrine buildings and the Meiji Jingu Homotsuden (Treasure House), which houses articles belonging to the Emperor and Empress. The Gaien area is made up of the outer precinct/garden and includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, which houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrating the various events taking place in the Emperor’s and Empress’ lives. The Meiji Memorial Hall and a variety of sports facilities including the National Stadium can also be found within the Gaien.

The Meiji Shrine is a popular shrine, which has hosted numerous foreign leaders like President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is the location for countless Shinto weddings and provides a place for rest and relaxation for many Tokyoites. During the New Year, the shrine welcomes more than three million visitors who come to offer the year’s first prayers (hatsumode).

The shrine is easily accessible via the JR Yamanote Line, exit Harajuku Station. It is also adjacent to the popular Yoyogi Park making it easy to string together a visit to several places during your visit without feeling rushed.




Shinto Wedding

Shinto Wedding

Treasure House

Treasure House

Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery

Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery


Web page:       http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/

Address:          1-1, Kamizono-chō, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053



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