Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine 01 - The Entrance

Set in a lush forest, the Meiji Shrine is one of the most iconic attractions in Tokyo, Japan.

My visit to Meiji Shrine (also known as Meiji Jingū) was a last minute decision. I planned a two-day shoot at Tokyo Disney Resort but decided to complete it in one day due to erratic weather. The rain had tested my patience and endurance.

Meiji Shrine 03 - Entrance

Giving up a day at one of the world’s best theme parks is of course a tough decision for someone like me to make, but I’m glad I explored the city instead.

Meiji Shrine 04 - The Path In

Meiji Shrine 20 - Serenity at Meiji Shrine Grounds

I’ve never visited the Shrine (or someplace similar) before, so walking alone through its sprawling forest was soothing.

Meiji Shrine 05 - Sake Barrels

A display of sake (Japanese rice wine) barrels.

Meiji Shrine 06 - Torii

The tall trees masked out the outside world – noise from traffic, city buildings.

Meiji Shrine 19 - Window to the Skies

Breaks in foliage let fragments of the sky seep through. It was a walk in serenity.

Meiji Shrine 07 - Inner Gate

Apart from a Treasure Museum and the inner garden, the key attraction is of course, the main hall of Meiji Shrine.

Meiji Shrine 08 - Shrine Gate

Meiji Shrine 09 - Central Shrine

Meiji Shrine 10 - Chrysanthemum Carving

The Chrysanthemum is a symbol that surrounds the Emperor and Imperial Family. At Meiji Shrine, variations of the Chrysanthemum Flower Seal are seen as ornaments on gates and lamps.

Meiji Shrine 11 - Tree in the Yard

The main hall is where visitors partake in a ritual of throwing coins (usually ¥5, or ¥50 coins) and saying a prayer, or wish.

Meiji Shrine 17 -  Shrine Paper Streamers

Shimenawa – a straw rope with shide, white zigzag streamers, marks the sacred ground.

Meiji Shrine 12 - Shrine Store

A large variety of omamori (amulets, talismans, or charms), can be purchased at two counters near the Shrine building. From health, wealth, academic success, to love, these small charms are decorative cloth pouches that hold a small wooden talisman inside. All of them are embroided with a Golden Chrysanthemum.

Meiji Shrine 13 - Shrine Store 2

Even if you don’t believe in this sort of good-luck charms, they make nice souvenirs. Most charms are ¥800 each.

Meiji Shrine 15 - Lantern Closeup

Meiji Shrine 14 - Wooden Blocks for Wishes

Near the main shrine, you’ll find walls filled with ema, or “wishing boards”. For ¥500 a piece, you get a nice wooden block to write your wish and hang it with everyone else’s.

Meiji Shrine 16 - Wishing Block

Meiji Shrine 21 - Outside Meiji Shrine

Once you’ve found your inner peace, walk out of the forest slowly, and the buzz of Tokyo traffic will gently ease in.

Meiji Shrine 02 - Metro Subway exits

Meiji Shrine is conveniently located near the Harajuku (JR Yamanote) station, which is linked via underpass to the Meiji-jingumae ‘Harajuku’ (Tokyo Metro) station. The nearest way out to the Shrine’s Harajuku-facing gate is Exit 2.

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