When in Japan: Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine or also known as Meiji-jingu is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji. He was the 122nd emperor of Japan behind the Meiji restoration, an important era shifting from shogun to emperor that led to economic and political improvement in Japan.

The shrine is surrounded by an enormous 70-hectare forest. A wooden torii, a term called for Japanese gates found in Shinto shrines, marks the entrance leading to the shrine.

After passing through torii, numerous barrels of sake serve as the next attraction. Sake is a Japanese wine that symbolizes a good bind between the gods and people. When people attend shrine festivals, they usually receive sake as a welcoming drink.

Be-like-a-local tip: When visiting a shrine in Japan, it’s very common to see a purification fountain like this. To experience the right way of doing it, get one of the ladles. Fill it with water to wash both hands. Then, transfer some water to a cupped hand to rinse the mouth. Lastly, spit the water on the side. Take note that the water must not go directly from the ladle to the mouth. Also, remember that the water must not be swallowed.


These are prayers from the shrine visitors written on votive tablets. A piece of this wooden tablet costs 500 yen that is sold at the counters found across them. But note that you can still write your prayers for free in a sheet of paper.
Instead of hanging it on the tree, the papers are dropped in a small box in front of the tree.
This is the main hall of the shrine that serves as the most important area of the complex. There is a glass door where worshipers are at. Since it is a praying area, it would be nice to observe silence to pay respect. Taking photos inside is not allowed.

Be-like-a-local tip: To leave a prayer in a local way, first, throw a coin in the box located in front. Next, bow two times. Then, clap your hands twice. Bow again once and finally, say your prayer.


To see a glimpse of a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, head to Meiji Shrine on a weekend. There is a great chance to see one (or more). A short outdoor procession occurs before and after the wedding ceremony. The entourage is dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos and vestures. Taking photos of the procession is allowed but of course pay respect to keep the wedding solemn.
How to get there: Meiji Shrine is located at the western part of Tokyo. Nearby stations are Harajuku station of the Yamanote line and Meiji-jingu-mae station of the Chiyoda line and Fukutoshin subway line. These stations are 5 minutes away from the torii main gate.
Entrance to Meiji Shrine is free without any closing time. However, some areas in the complex require a fee including the Treasure House (500 yen) and Inner Garden (500 yen). 



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