Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu ) is located in Shibuya, Tokyo. The meaning of
the Meiji shrine is dedicated
to the deified spirits of Emper or Meiji and his wife. The shrine does
not contain the emperor's grave,
which is located at Fushimi-momoyama, south of Kyoto.
Torii of Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 170 acres. This
area is covered by an evergreen forest
that consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated
by people from all parts of Japan
when the shrine was established. The forest is visited by many as a recreation
and relaxation area in the center
of Tokyo. The shrine itself is composed of two major areas of Naien and
(L) Temizusha, purification through a hand-washing basin (R) Ema, votive
tablets for a special personal prayer
The Main Meiji Shrine
The gardens cover over 83,000 square meters of land between the main shrine
buildings and Yoyogi Park.
After paying the entrance fee, visitors can enter the garden and stroll
on the stone pathways leading
through scenic forests. There is a quaint tea house constructed in traditional
Japanese style. There is also
a large iris garden, which is at its most beautiful in June when the flowers
are in full bloom. At the center
of the garden is the South Pond, a quiet body of water filled with turtles
and colorful carp. Another popular
feature of the garden is Kiyomasa's Well. It is at the mouth to the
stream that runs to the South Pond.
The Inner Gardens were initially part of the residence of Kiyomasa Kato,
a powerful political and military figure
in Japanese history during the 1500s and 1600s. Though his family owned
the land, it is uncertain, whether
Kato ever resided there himself. During the Meiji Period ( late 1800s-early
1900s) the gardens were taken
under control of the Japanese government and named Yoyogi Gyoen. The Meiji
Emperor and Empress were
frequent visitors. Today, the Inner Gardens are also known as Meiji Jingu
Gyoen. The Meiji Jingu Shrine is
a one-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station. After passing beneath the large
entrance torii gate, visitors
will walk down a forested path towards the shrine. The entrance to the
Inner Gardens is off the path, to the left.
A booklet of Meiji Jingu Inner Garden
(L) A trail to the South Pond (M) Azumaya (R) South Pond
(L) Kakuuntei, a tea house (R) South pond
(L) Susuki, Japanese silver grass (M) Autumn leaves (R A tea house
The Iris Garden and azumaya
A highlight of red autumn leaves
Torii, the shrine gate and main shrine building
(L) Yabusame demonstration in 2001, when President visited Meiji Jingu
(R) Shinto priests and maidens wear traditional dress in preparation for
a wedding at the Meiji Shrine.
Torii leading to the Meiji Shrine complex and ginko's autumn leaves
The 150-year Forest Project of Meiji Shrine
In the heart of Tokyo, bristling with skyscrapers, there is a forest 700,000
square meters in area located on the site of
Meiji Jingu shrine. The forest is mainly composed of evergreen broadleaf
trees, such as chinquapin, oak and camphor, and
provides habitat to many wild birds.
This forest was created about 100 years ago as a project with a 150-year
vision. It was planted with the cooperation of
about 110,000 volunteers, who planted some 100,000 trees of 365 different
species donated by people throughout
the nation. The practice of creating shrine forests has its basis in traditional
Japanese thought and concepts of nature.
They build Shinto shrines to offer respect and veneration to these deities.
The sacred forests surrounding these shrines,
that were called 'forests of tutelary shrines,' have been protected over
long periods of several hundred to over a thousand
years, and it is forbidden to pick even a single leaf off a tree without
reason. History of the project dates back to July 1912,
when Emperor Meiji passed away. After it was decided to build his mausoleum
in Kyoto, the ancient Imperial has seated
for more than 1,000 years, Tokyo citizens asked the government to build
a Shinto shrine in Tokyo to commemorate his
virtues and offer veneration. Consequently, it was decided that a shrine
commemorating Emperor Meiji would be built
in Yoyogi in Tokyo. Following this decision, in 1915 several leading experts
in forest scientist and landscape architecture
launched the shrine-forest-project, creating a Forest with Trees-Donated
from the entire area of Japan.
It was decided that the many trees necessary to create the forest would
be collected through donation from over the nation.
The project team discussed which tree species should be planted as the
dominant components of the forest, which was to
cover an extensive area, in order to create a setting appropriate for the
majestic shrine buildings. As many as 95,559 trees
of 365 species were donated. In 150 years, the forest was supposed to be
composed entirely of evergreen broad-leaved
trees such as oak, chinquapin and camphor.
The forest in the center of Metropolitan Tokyo
Official Site of Meiji Shrine
Ise Grand Shrine, Mie
$B!!(BInner Garden of Imperial Palace in spring time
Sensouji Temple, Asakusa
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References: Wikipedia, Japan Travel Guide and JFS sites
This information was provided by the Smokefree Hotel and Travel.
The article was written and photographs were taken in December 2016, by
Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D., PhD.
A few photos taken in April 2016 were also included.