Meiji Shrine (明治神宮 Meiji Jingū), Tokyo’s grandest shrine, is the Shinto Shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji & his wife, Empress Shōken. The shrine is located just a 10-minute stroll from Harajuku Station south entrance.
Located in an evergreen forest, shared with the spacious Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine covers an area of 700,000 square-metres (about 175 acres), consisting 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established.
Getting into the Meiji Shrine grounds was a sharp contrast compared to being at Harajuku Station, as there is a lot of greenery in the compound giving a cool & tranquil feel. The Ōtorii (the Grand Shrine Gate) that you see in the picture above is the biggest wooden “torii” of the Myojin style in Japan, with a height of 12m, & the distance between the 2 pillars at 9.1m. It was rebuilt in 1975 with “Hinoki” (Japanese Cypress) from Mt. Tandai-San Taiwan.
To our pleasant surprise, we saw that a Shinto wedding (traditional Japanese wedding) was in progress at the Meiji Memorial Hall! I had purposely planned the trip to Meiji Shrine on a Saturday in the hope of catching a Shinto wedding & my dream came true. Hehe
The wedding ceremony was very short, maybe we missed the beginning, but we only witnessed about 6 minutes before it ended & they returned to the hall, only to come out about 5 minutes later to take group photos. Glad that we saw the traditional wedding nonetheless! 🙂
Of course there is also a corner where one can make a donation & write wishes prayers/ well-wishes on the wooden blocks provided. I didn’t do that but we could see many hanging up their prayers on the panels.
We left the Meiji Shrine slightly after an hour of tour. I felt the tour was nice because when in the compounds, suddenly I didn’t feel that I had to rush for time in a bustling city like Tokyo anymore, since there are only plenty of trees & no high-rise buildings all around to give that pressure. In my view, this is a highly recommended attraction for anyone visiting Tokyo. 😉