Meiji Jingu Guide 明治神宮

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  • One of the most popular destinations in Tokyo is Meiji Jingu (明治神宮), built to honor Emperor Meiji who modernized Japan and open its door to the west.

    Just One Cookbook children in front of Otorii the grand shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    We often get asked by friends and readers on Japan travel tips and itineraries so we try our best to share our Japan experiences on the blog.  However, one city we didn’t have much travel content on was Tokyo.  Why?  Since Nami’s family only lives 7 miles (15 km) from Tokyo and 15 miles (23 km) to Shibuya, it never seemed like a “Japan travel destination” for us.

    As we get repeated request for Tokyo travel guide, we spent 6 days this past summer in Tokyo exploring different wards, activities to do, places to visit and eat.  This is just the beginning of our Tokyo travel guide and we’ll continue adding to these posts as we explore new adventure and experiences.  We hope you will enjoy traveling throughout Tokyo with our family.

    The reality is that it’s impossible to finish exploring Tokyo in 6 days, or even possibly a month.  There are simply way too many options for dining, sightseeing, and entertainment!  This is our first effort to share Tokyo with you and we hope you’ll enjoy our journey.  There is something for everyone in Tokyo so pick and choose what your heart desires when you visit.

    For the Tokyo travel guide series, we’ll share the following posts:

    1. Shinjuku 新宿
    2. Meiji Jingu 明治神宮
    3. Harajuku and Omotesando 原宿・表参道
    4. Shibuya 渋谷
    5. Roppongi 六本木ヒルズ
    6. Tokyo Tower (update) 東京タワー
    7. Ginza 銀座
    8. Imperial East Garden 皇居東御苑
    9. Akihabara 秋葉原
    10. Ueno 上野
    11. Kappabshi かっぱ橋道具街
    12. Tokyo Dome City 東京ドームシティー
    13. Asakusa (update) 浅草
    14. Tokyo Sky Tree (update) 東京スカイツリー
    15. Odaiba お台場

    You might notice there are many areas/wards/stations we missed in Tokyo from the above list, like Tokyo Station.  It’s because we simply ran out of time to cover and will add it in a future trip.  If you have any specific requests, please comment below and we’ll try to add it to our future itineraries.

    If you join a tour group in Tokyo, Meiji Jingu is almost on every tour’s itinerary.  It’s a Shinto Shrine built in 1920 dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.  The shrine is conveniently located just 15 – 20 minute walk from Shinjuku and Shibuya Stations.

    Meiji Jingu Guide

    After visiting the bustling Shinjuku, it’s time to find some peace and green forestry in Tokyo.  Meiji Jingu is a large park within Tokyo; the inner and outer park covers over 1,000,000 sq meters (~245 acres) and has 170,000 trees.

    restriction sign in front of Meiji Jingu from 1920 - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Otorii the grand shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    When you get to Meiji Jingu and after crossing the Jingu Bridge, you’ll get to the first of the 3 Torii Gates towering over the walking path.  The path into the shrine is really wide compared to other Japanese shrines.

    Otorii the grand shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Once you pass through the first torii gate, you’ll see Meiji Jingu Inner Garden on your left.  The garden has been there since 1600’s and this is only part of the Meiji Shrine that requires a fee (500 yen).

    bridge near entrance - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Meiji Jingu Inner Garden 明治神宮御苑

    Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    map of Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    The garden was visited often by Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken as they have loved this tranquil sanctuary within Tokyo.  The garden consists of seasonal flowers and plants, a large pond, and a teahouse.

    walkway in Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    teahouse at Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com
    Kakuun-tei – built by Emperor Meiji for Shoken as a rest house.

    Nami and child at the pond in Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    the pond at Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    fishing spot in Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com
    Nan-chi Pond and Otsuri-Dai (fishing spot).

    Iris garden in Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    When we visited in July, the iris garden just finished blooming so it was all green.

    gazebo azumaya in Meiji Jingu Gyoen - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Kiyomasa's Well - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com
    Kiyomasa’s Well – one of the most famous well in Edo Period.

    Kiyomasa's Well - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    After visiting the inner garden, continue on the large path towards the main shrine.

    walkway to shrine - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    On the path, you will soon arrive at the sake offered annually to the deities and wine barrel to be consecrated.  Why the wine barrels?  Emperor Meiji lead the example for modernization by enjoying Western food and wine.

    Just One Cookbook children in front of Barrels of Sake Wrapped in Straw - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Barrels of Sake Wrapped in Straw - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Consecrations of Meiji shrine, wine barrels - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    As you continue on the pass, you see the second towering torii gate 12 meters high and made of Hinoki, from Taiwan.

    Otorii the grand shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Otorii the grand shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Walk along the path a bit more and you’ll come up on the third Torii Gate and the main Shrine building.  For those of you who are not familiar with the distinction of shrines vs. temples in Japan, shrines are for Shinto religion and temples are for Buddhism.

    Otorii shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Just One Cookbook children in front of Otorii shrine gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com
    Smile, we only have 5 miles and an entire day of picture taking left.

    people buying prayer goods and charms - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Meiji Jingu Minami Gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com
    The main gate into the shrine’s courlocateds lcoated on the south side of the shrine.

    Meiji Jingu Minami Gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    child standing at Meiji Jingu Minami Gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    wooden doors to the main shrine - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Meiji Jingu Minami Gate - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    Meiji Jingu courtyard - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    east gate at the courtyard - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com
    East gate at the shrine.

    In the large courtyard, you’ll find a few large camphor trees.  You can purchase wooden plaques and write your wishes on them and pray to the deities.

    giant camphor tree in the courtyard - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    camphor trees with rope tied together - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    The current shrine buildings were built in 1958 as the original ones were destroyed during the war.  When you pray in a Shinto shrine, here are the correct process:

    1. Put some coins into the offertory box.
    2. Bow twice.
    3. Clap your hands twice.
    4. Make a wish if you like.
    5. Bow once again.
    Main shrine building at Meiji Jingu.

    main shrine building - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    main shrine building - Meiji Jingu Guide | justonecookbook.com

    After visiting the Shrine and taking in the tranquility of the forest in this city environment, it’s time to head to the fashion and culture headquarter of Japan, Harajuku and Omotesando. For more Japan travel guide click here, and to read Tokyo travel guide click here.

    Check out other Tokyo travel guide series:

    1. Shinjuku 新宿
    2. Meiji Jingu 明治神宮
    3. Harajuku and Omotesando 原宿・表参道
    4. Shibuya 渋谷
    5. Roppongi 六本木ヒルズ
    6. Tokyo Tower (update) 東京タワー
    7. Ginza 銀座
    8. Imperial East Garden 皇居東御苑
    9. Akihabara 秋葉原
    10. Ueno 上野
    11. Kappabshi かっぱ橋道具街
    12. Tokyo Dome City 東京ドームシティー
    13. Asakusa (update) 浅草
    14. Tokyo Sky Tree (update) 東京スカイツリー
    15. Odaiba お台場

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