Meiji Jingu

Tokyo Things to See

Tokyo, Japan Apr. 13 Sat 9:33PM

16.3 / 61.3

Tranquility in Harajuku

Meiji Shrine, or “Meiji Jingu” as it is known in Japanese, is a shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Established in 1920, it commemorates a royal family who lived through famously turbulent times, known as the “Meiji Restoration,” during which Japan opened itself to the Western world after hundreds of years of isolation, and industrialized extremely rapidly to keep up with the European countries who were colonizing the world at that time.

However, despite of, or perhaps in purposeful contrast to, the turbulent nature of the Meiji Era, the Meiji Shrine is a wooded, deeply peaceful area, shaded by over 120,000 trees, a true spot of tranquility amidst the bustle of Tokyo. In fact the Shrine is mere walking distance from Takeshita Dori, the Harajuku street famous for its zany fashion and youth culture, and while visiting both spots back to back may be jarring, it can give you a sense of Tokyo’s more peaceful spots.

Locals come to pray for their families' safety, and good health, as well as success at school and business prosperity. This shrine is also a popular spot for Shinto weddings, and if you’re lucky you may get to catch a glimpse of this beautiful ceremony. Within this lush metropolitan oasis is the famous spring well "Iyomasa's Well" for making wishes, beautiful, indigo-hued Japanese irises and the famous stacks of sake barrels which brewers leave to dedicate to the shrine. It is also the most popular place in for hatsumode (the first visit to a shrine in the New Year) in Japan, and a visit at New Year’s will reveal hordes of people lining up to quietly pray for prosperity in the coming year.

Route to Worship

1. Ni-no-Torii Gate
This is the most symbolic torii gate leading to the main sanctuary. With a towering height of approximately 12 m (39.3 ft) and a hefty pillar diameter of 1.2 m (3.9 ft), it is the largest torii gate in Japan. The gate's imposing stature and striking design are sure to leave a lasting impression on all those who pass beneath it.

2. Main Sanctuary
It is recommended to visit the main sanctuary first to pay respect to the enshrined deities. Then try visiting the Meoto-kusu (“camphor tree couple”). which is said to bring good luck in matchmaking. Additionally, Omikuji (fortune-telling paper strips), amulets, and Goshuin (red seal) books are also available in this area.

3. The Meiji Shrine Inner Garden or Yoyogi Gyoen
The gardens are well-cared for and feature various attractions, such as a tranquil rest area, a serene pond, a lovely iris garden, and the Kiyomasa's Well. It is said that visiting during the daytime on a sunny day will bring you good luck.

4. Turtle Stone
Located near the North Pond, the Turtle Stone is a well-known power spot that many people visit. It is believed that touching the Turtle Stone can help promote good health and longevity. After the tour, visitors can take some time to unwind and rest their legs in the nearby field.

Sake Barrels 


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