About Meiji Jingu|Detailed history and overview

🕓 2024/4/20

A detailed history and overview of Meiji Jingu

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 Table of Contents

  1. Outline of Meiji Jingu
  2. History of Meiji Jingu
  3. Places to see at Meiji Jingu
  4. Festivals and events at Meiji Jingu
  5. Benefits of Meiji Jingu
  6. Access to Meiji Jingu


Meiji Jingu is one of Japan's representative shrines, located in the heart of Tokyo but surrounded by rich nature, and dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken, who led the modernization of Japan, and was built in 1912.

This article explores the historical background of Meiji Jingu, its architectural features, and the spirituality and serenity of the space that visitors can experience. We will also include information on dining and access to restaurants that can be enjoyed in the vicinity of the shrine to help you make the most of your visit.

The vast grounds and lush forests of Meiji Jingu are a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and calm your mind, and the shrine attracts many worshippers every year. We hope that through this article you will gain a deeper understanding of its charm and importance, and rediscover the value of visiting.



1. Outline of Meiji Jingu

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Meiji Jingu is located in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and is known as one of the largest Shinto shrines in Japan. The shrine was completed in 1920 and enshrines Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Dowager Shoken, who greatly influenced the modernization of Japan. The vast grounds cover approximately 70 hectares, including forests, gardens, and numerous shrine buildings.

The approach to the shrine from Harajuku Station, the entrance to the shrine, is known for offering worshippers a tranquil and verdant nature experience, a place where the hustle and bustle of the city can be forgotten. The main buildings follow the traditional Japanese architectural style, especially the main shrine, which is designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.
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In addition to its historical and cultural value, Meiji Jingu also plays an important role in environmental preservation, as a large forest is preserved in a corner of Central Tokyo. The shrine is famous for the large number of worshippers and tourists who visit the shrine each year, especially during the New Year's first visit, when millions of people come to pay their respects. It is also a popular place to enjoy nature in all four seasons, offering beautiful views of cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in fall.


2. History of Meiji Jingu

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Meiji Jingu is located in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken, who played a major role in the modernization of Japan. The shrine was founded in 1920 and enjoys strong support from all over Japan.

The background for the construction of the shrine began in 1912, after the death of Emperor Meiji, in response to strong requests from the public. Although many early plans proposed the construction of a new memorial facility in Tokyo as a place to honor Emperor Meiji, the form of a shrine was ultimately chosen. This was because, unlike mere monuments or memorials, a shrine was seen as a place where the Japanese tradition and religious aspects of the people's reverence could take shape.

The site chosen for the construction was the former villa of the lord of the Higo domain and the former residence of the Ii family, land that had been purchased by the Meiji government. Many trees were planted around the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and even today it is surrounded by a large amount of nature. These trees were donated from all over Japan and planted by many volunteers as part of a nationwide project to support the construction of the shrine.

From its creation to the present day, Meiji Jingu continues to serve as an important cultural heritage site in Japan and as a spiritual support for the people.


3. places to see at Meiji Jingu

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The Otorii, the largest gate in Japan

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The Otorii, the largest gate in Japan, welcomes visitors with its presence as the starting point for worship. After being damaged by lightning in 1966, the Otorii had to be rebuilt due to its importance. However, there were no cypress trees of sufficient size in Japan, so a search for suitable timbers was necessary. As a result, a huge tree over 1,500 years old was discovered in Taiwan, and with the cooperation of the local people, it was transported to Japan.

The torii gate, which was rebuilt in 1975 using this large tree, is 12 meters high and 17.1 meters wide, with columns that measure 1.2 meters in diameter. This scale makes it one of the largest wooden Myojin torii in Japan. Its overwhelming size and historical background make it not only a symbol of Meiji Jingu, but also an important landmark that provides special inspiration to all who visit.



South approach and sake barrels

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The South Approach, the main approach to Meiji Jingu, is the path that worshippers take immediately after passing through the Otorii Gate. This approach is a quiet path surrounded by nature, bringing peace and tranquility to visitors. Of particular note are the sake and wine barrels neatly arranged along the approach. These barrels are arranged as a symbol of Japan's aggressive introduction of Western culture during the Meiji period.

The sake barrels are called "sake komodaru," and are donated by sake breweries from all over Japan. These are dedicated to shrines in the traditional way, with the barrels covered with a white cloth and treated as sacred. Wine barrels, on the other hand, come mainly from Europe, especially from the Burgundy region of France, reflecting the deep respect and curiosity that Emperor Meiji had for Western culture.



Married Couple Camphor Trees and Kaguraden

The two most important sites not to be missed are the "Meoto Kusu" (married couple's camphor tree) and the Kaguraden (Shinto music and dance hall). The Meoto Kusu, with its two camphor trees growing close together, is known as a power spot symbolizing the love of a married couple, a good marriage, and family ties. Many couples and families who visit the shrine put their hands together in prayer for the continuation of a good relationship.

Located along the approach to the main shrine, the couple's camphor tree has a special presence that gives comfort and hope to visitors. Visitors can sometimes be seen taking commemorative photos near the camphor tree, making it one of the most popular spots in Meiji Jingu .



Main Shrine

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The main hall of Meiji Jingu is the most important and sacred place on the grounds. It is known as the place where Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Dowager Shoken, are enshrined. Along with its prestigious architecture, the main hall symbolizes the heart of the Shinto faith in Japan.

The architecture of the main hall adopts the traditional Japanese shrine architectural style, and its stately structure deeply impresses visitors. From the use of wood and the shape of the roof to the placement of the pillars, Japanese craftsmanship has been fully utilized to create a perfect blend of beauty and sophistication.

Worshippers join their hands in front of the main shrine and silently offer prayers. There is a sense of clarity and serenity in the air from this place, allowing visitors to calm their minds away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Prayer at the main shrine serves not only as a place for personal wishes, but also as a place to pray for peace for the family and the nation.



Kiyomasa Well

After visiting the main shrine of Meiji Jingu, we recommend the Seisho well. As its name suggests, this well is said to have originated with Kiyomasa Kato, although it is not certain whether he actually had anything to do with the area. However, the name and its lore provide an interesting topic of conversation for visitors and color the historical background of the site.

Seisho well is a naturally gushing well whose water is so pure that it has moistened the area throughout the years. This water has long played an important role as a source of water for the area, contributing to the maintenance of the surrounding natural environment and ecosystem. Visitors can experience the beauty and mystery of nature by looking at the crystal clear water of this well.



Shobu-den (Shobu Field)

The Shobu Field at Meiji Jingu  is a beautiful sight to behold, especially when visiting in June, when the brightly colored irises are in full bloom. This area was built in memory of Empress Dowager Shoken, and the beauty of the irises she loved so much is preserved here today.

Located near the Seisho-i well, the iris field provides an eye-catching view of the natural surroundings of Meiji Jingu. Every June, more than 150 varieties of irises bloom one after another, reminding visitors of the change of seasons from late spring to early summer.




The Gyoen at Meiji Jingu is a natural oasis in the heart of Tokyo, a vast garden where visitors can enjoy seasonal plants and flowers. Known for its diverse vegetation and meticulously designed landscaping, the garden attracts visitors with its cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, colorful autumn leaves in fall, and the serenity of its snow-covered grounds in winter. There are several paths within the Gyoen, allowing visitors to stroll around and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of events, such as seasonal flower festivals and nature observation events.



Turtle Stone

The Turtle Stone, located near the North Pond in the Gyoen Garden, was named after the natural stone that is shaped like a turtle. Because of its shape and location, the stone is known as a power spot where energy is gathered. Visitors are said to find peace of mind by holding hands or meditating quietly around the turtle stone. The quiet and serene atmosphere around the Turtle Stone is ideal for a rest and refreshment after a stroll in the garden.


4. festivals and events at Meiji Jingu

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Meiji Jingu  holds a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, offering special experiences for visitors. Some of the most important events include the following

 ■ Spring Grand Festival
Held on November 3, Emperor Meiji's birthday, this festival is one of the most important events at Meiji Jingu. It is one of the most important events of Meiji Shrine. Shinto music and dance are dedicated, and sacred ceremonies are performed in a solemn atmosphere.

New Year's Day Festival
On New Year's Day, the day the New Year begins, many people visit the shrine for the first time. Special rituals are performed for this day, and it is an important occasion to receive blessings for the New Year.

Rare Festival
On July 30, the anniversary of Emperor Meiji's death, a festival is held in memory of the Emperor and to honor his legacy. This is attended by many believers and tourists to pay their respects.


5. the benefits of Meiji Jingu

Meiji Jingu  is known for its historical and spiritual environment, which attracts many worshippers. In particular, Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken, whom the shrine enshrines, are believed to bring a variety of blessings.

The goddess of marriage
Meiji Jingu  is also known as the god of marriage, and is especially believed in by young men and women. The shrine attracts many worshippers seeking for love fulfillment and a good marriage. Power spots such as the marital camphor tree are especially popular as spots related to this.

Benefits for family happiness and child rearing
Since Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken valued family harmony, this shrine is also believed to be a god of family happiness and child rearing. Many families visit the shrine to strengthen family ties and wish for the healthy growth of their children.

Academic Success
Meiji Jingu  is also a god of learning. Especially during the New Year and exam season, many students visit the shrine to pray for success in exams and academic success.

Business Prosperity and Workplace Stability
In honor of Emperor Meiji, who promoted the Industrial Revolution in the Meiji Era, working people who wish for business prosperity, success and stability in the workplace visit the shrine. It is also a reassuring presence for entrepreneurs and business people.

Mental and Physical Health
The rich natural environment is believed to have a positive effect on mental and physical health, making it a peaceful place for worshippers who wish for good health and longevity.
Many visitors come to Meiji Jingu  throughout the year to seek these benefits.




Access to Meiji Jingu 

Meiji Jingu  is located in central Tokyo and can be easily accessed by many public transportation systems.

By train Access by train
The most convenient way to access the shrine is by train. The closest station to Meiji Jingu is Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line, about a 5-minute walk from the South Exit. It is also very close to Meiji-jingumae Station on the Tokyo Metro Line, about a 5-minute walk, and can be accessed using the Chiyoda Line or Fukutoshin Line. Furthermore, if you use the Toei Subway Oedo Line, Yoyogi Station is available, which is also about a 10-minute walk away.

Access by car Access by car
It is possible to visit the temple by car, but public transportation is recommended since the parking lot on the temple grounds is often crowded. If you use a car, you can enter from the Yoyogi Exit, but not from the Sangubashi or Harajuku Exits.

Other Information
For bicycles and motorcycles, bicycle parking is available at each entrance. If using public transportation, it is recommended that you allow plenty of time to walk from the nearest station to the main shrine, as it takes about 10 minutes to get there.




In Conclusion

With its rich natural and historical background, Meiji Jingu  has had a profound impact on visitors; since its construction in 1912, this shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken has symbolized the modernization of Japan and provided spirituality and peace to many people. Its expansive grounds provide a tranquil refuge from the hustle and bustle of urban life, offering peace of mind to worshippers.

Meiji Jingu is also known for its cultural events and annual festivities, famously attracting millions of visitors during the New Year's Hatsumode. Worshippers can enjoy many attractions, including the main shrine, the marital camphor tree, the garden, and the Otorii gate. In addition, a diverse array of gourmet restaurants are located in the surrounding area, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of Japan.

Transportation access is also excellent, with many visitors easily accessible from Harajuku and Meiji-jingumae stations. This sacred site is a unique space that combines Japanese tradition and natural beauty, making it a worthy destination for both domestic and international visitors.

We hope that through this article you will gain a deeper understanding of the charm and importance of Meiji Jingu  and rediscover the value of visiting.