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Meiji Jingu Shrine

The Meiji Jingu Shrine is beautiful Shinto shrine located within a 175 acre forested area in central Tokyo.  As you walk about the grounds it’s hard to imagine that you are in the middle of the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. 

The deities (spirits/souls) of the Emperor Meiji and His Consort Empress Shoken are enshrined at Meiji Jingu.  Empereor Meiji (1852-1912) led Japan out of isolation by promoting international ties and encouraging cultural pursuits.  His reign marked a very prosperous time in Japanese history.  Empress Shoken (1850-1914) was an advocate of education for women and was a contributor and supporter of the Japan Red Cross.  Both the Emperor and Empress were well loved by the people of Japan and the Meiji Jingu Shrine was built in thier honor.  It was completed in 1920 but was destroyed by fire during World War II and was rebuilt in 1958.

The gravel pathway to the shrine is demarcated by trees along each side and a number of torii (gates).  The otorii (grand shrine gate) is 12 meters high with a 17 meter cross piece made of Japanese cypress and is an impressive sight.

As you pass through the various tori and approach the shrine take note of the entrance to the inner garden.  For a small fee you can meander through a stunning garden that was created by the Emperor for the Empress long before the shrine was built.

The shrine itself is located in a courtyard which is accessed via an ornately carved gate guarded by paper lanterns on each side. This Shrine is one of the largest and most popular in Japan and is a pleasure to visit.  If you are lucky you might get to see a newly married couple in traditional bridal attire like my friends and I did on our last visit!

Meiji Jingu Shrine is located near the Harajuku and Meiji Jingumae Stations in central Tokyo.  It’s well worth a visit!

Photo Credit: Personal Collection