Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo

Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo (must see)

Nestled in a very picturesque evergreen area, Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. After the emperor's death in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. An iris garden in an area of Tokyo where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken had been known to visit was chosen as the building's location. Construction began in 1915 under Itō Chūta, and the shrine was built in the traditional Nagare-zukuri style and is made up primarily of Japanese cypress and copper. It was formally dedicated in 1920, completed in 1921, and its grounds officially finished by 1926. Until 1946, the Meiji Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha, meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines. The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II. The present iteration of the shrine was funded through a public fundraising effort and completed in October 1958.

Meiji Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 700,000 square meters (about 175 acres). This area is covered by an evergreen forest that consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. The forest is visited by many as a recreation and relaxation area in the center of Tokyo. Millions of visitors from all over the country come in the first week of the New Year for the first prayers of the year called Hatsumode. Worshippers also perform typical Shinto rituals like making offerings, purchasing charms and making wishes on wooden plates called Emas. The shrine itself is composed of two major areas: Naien and Gaien. The Naien is the inner precinct, which is centered on the shrine buildings and includes a treasure museum that houses articles of the Emperor and Empress. The treasure museum is built in the Azekurazukuri style. The Gaien is the outer precinct, which includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery that houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrative of the events in the lives of the Emperor and his consort. It also includes a variety of sports facilities, including the National Stadium, the Meiji Memorial Hall, which was originally used for governmental meetings, including discussions surrounding the drafting of the Meiji Constitution in the late 19th century. Today it is used for Shinto weddings.

Why You Should Visit:
Amazing for taking a walk and enjoying the views offered. The setting for this shrine is perfect: woodlands that are well over 100 years old and comprise close to 365 different tree species.

Tip:
If you can organize your schedule, try going on a Sunday, when weddings are held in the compound, which are traditional, colorful and fascinating, and the entrance is free from sunrise to sunset.
There is also a lovely cafe in the grounds, a gift/souvenir shop with reasonably-priced articles, and a large collection of sake barrels stacked and lined up in a large display.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 5:45am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Tokyo, Japan within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Meiji Jingu Shrine on Map

Sight Name: Meiji Jingu Shrine
Sight Location: Tokyo, Japan
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Shibuya Walking Tour  

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