Meiji Jingū offers a glimpse of traditional Japan in the heart of modern Tokyo and its a great contrast to the nearby chaos of Takeshita Dori. Visiting the shrine should be on top of anyone’s list before you search for the Goth Lolita’s and Cosplayers.
From Harajuku Station take the right exit, when you see a Torii (wooden archway) covered with towering trees then you are on the right place. No entrance fee is required, so just follow the crowd as they head to the main shrine or better yet ask the helpful guards for direction. With about 175 acres forest of 120,000 luscious trees of 365 different species, the journey towards the shrine is such a relaxing weekend alternative and just make sure you are wearing the appropriate shoes. If you google it, you will learn that Meiji Shrine was built as a dedication to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken following the Shinto faith. It is a sacred shrine and most Japanese do not go for leisure purpose only but to pray and pay their respect.
Visiting the shrine could have been just another tourist spot to cross on my checklist, but what makes my visit remarkable is witnessing a Japanese wedding ceremony. With the bride and the groom wearing traditional clothes and entourage in kimono, its nostalgic feeling of what a pre-modern Nippon looks like. I was told that all year round, the shrine is a popular place for Shinto weddings. Who can blame any couple for choosing this location, it’s a picture-perfect romantic venue to say I do.
Write your wish on the Ema (wooden tablet) or receive a divine grace by picking an english version of Omikuji. Who knows maybe the shrine hold the answers to your heart desires.
(Listening to Nick Drake – “Bryter Lyter”)