Near the areas of Shibuya and Harajuku is the famous Meiji Jingu, where the souls of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken are venerated. Today it is one of the most important tourist spots in Tokyo, attracting thousands of tourists from early in the morning. The enclosure is located in a forest in the middle of the capital city. This forest is composed of more than 120,000 trees of 365 species donated by each prefecture of Japan and some from people from abroad. The torii (sacred doors of the Shinto) of this sanctuary are made of wood and without a single nail.
In this Shinto sanctuary, only the souls of the Emperor and Empress are venerated. It is, however, not a grave but a place of worship where their s0uls are enshrined. Their actual graves are in Kyoto. The Meiji shrine was completed in 1926 and was a national project as a way of thanking Emperor Meiji for his hard work on the modernization and industrialization of Japan. It was included in the list of the most important sanctuaries, therefore before the post-war constitution, this sanctuary was funded by the government of Japan.
Unfortunately, the original sanctuary was destroyed by US forces in the Tokyo bombings. Japan begged the US forces to avoid the bombardment of buildings of historical or spiritual importance, but still burned to ashes the entire area where this important sanctuary was located. After the war, in 1958, it was rebuilt again thanks to donations from people who wanted to see this important sanctuary again.
In the enclosures, you can see barrels of sake of various breweries from all over Japan as offerings to the Emperor. There are also barrels of French wine as offerings. This is because before the Meiji Era, wine was not marketed in Japan, and thanks to Emperor Meiji, the wine industry began to have an impact on Japanese society.
Normally, on weekends you can often see traditional Shinto weddings taking place since this sanctuary is very popular for getting married. Also, on the outskirts of the sanctuary is the bridge that connects Omotesando Street with the Meiji Jingu. This bridge is called Jingubashi and you can regularly enjoy urban artists making music and models of the extravagant fashion of Harajuku.
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Hours: from sunrise until sunset
Entrance fee: free