Meiji Jingu Shrine
1-1 Kamizono-cho Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, JapanGetting there
By car: Approximately 5 minutes from Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Route 4, Shinjuku Line, Yoyogi Interchange.
By train: 1 minute walk from JR Harajuku Station. 5 minutes by foot from Yoyogi Station. 1 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) Station. 5 minutes by foot from Odakyu Line Sangubashi Station.Telephone
+81 3-3379-5511More information Prices
Meiji Shrine: Free admission to shrine grounds
Treasure House: 500 ¥ (yen)
Inner Garden: 500 ¥ (yen)
Meiji Shrine: Sunrise to sunset
Treasure House 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (until 16:00 from November to February). Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Inner Garden: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (until 16:00 from November to February). Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time. Extended hours during the middle of June.
Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Located just beside the JR Yamanote Line's busy Harajuku Station, Meiji Shrine and the adjacent Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area within the densely built-up city. The spacious shrine grounds offer walking paths that are great for a relaxing stroll.
- Located in Yoyogi, central west Tokyo.
- Present temple dates from 1920's.
- Next to 1964 Olympic complex.
- Beautiful, peaceful swath of green in the middle of the concrete jungle.
- The place to be on New Year's Day in Tokyo.
- Good place to stroll day or night.
The shrine was completed and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920, eight years after the passing of the emperor and six years after the passing of the empress. The shrine was destroyed during the Second World War but was rebuilt shortly thereafter.
Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan. He was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1867 at the peak of the Meiji Restoration when Japan's feudal era came to an end and the emperor was restored to power. During the Meiji Period, Japan modernized and westernized herself to join the world's major powers by the time Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912.
The main complex of shrine buildings is located a ten minute walk from both the southern entrance near Harajuku Station and the northern entrance near Yoyogi Station. Entry into the shrine grounds is marked by a massive torii gate, after which the sights and sounds of the busy city are replaced by a tranquil forest. The approximately 100,000 trees that make up Meiji Jingu's forest were planted during the shrine's construction and were donated from regions across the entire country.
At the middle of the forest, Meiji Jingu's buildings also have an air of tranquility distinct from the surrounding city. Visitors to the shrine can take part in typical Shinto activities, such as making offerings at the main hall, buying charms and amulets or writing out one's wish on an ema.
Meiji Jingu is one of the Japan's most popular shrines. In the first days of the New Year, the shrine regularly welcomes more than three million visitors for the year's first prayers (hatsumode), more than any other shrine or temple in the country. During the rest of the year, traditional Shinto weddings can often be seen taking place there.
At the northern end of the shrine grounds visitors will come across the Meiji Jingu Treasure House, which was constructed one year after the shrine was opened. The Treasure House displays many interesting personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress, including the carriage which the emperor rode to the formal declaration of the Meiji Constitution in 1889. There is also a Museum Annex Building just to the east of the main shrine buildings that displays temporary exhibitions.
A large area of the southern section of the shrine grounds is taken up by the Inner Garden, which requires an entrance fee to enter. The garden becomes particularly popular during the middle of June when the irises are in bloom. A small well located within the garden, Kiyomasa's Well, is named after a military commander who dug it around 400 years ago. The well was visited by the Emperor and Empress while they were alive and has become a popular spiritual "power spot".
Meiji Jingu Shrine History
The Meiji Shrine was completed in 1920 and is Japan's most famous Shinto shrine. Yoyogi Park itself is a large, dense area of green tranquility in which the buzz and hum of the city quickly recede.
Meiji Jingu Shrine is dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) and his wife, Empress Shoken (1849-1914). The 15-year-old Emperor Meiji ascended the throne in 1867 as Japan saw the violent end of over 260 years of Tokugawa rule and the Meiji Restoration (Meiji Isshin) ushered in a period of industrialization, urbanization and colonial expansion as Japan began to attempt to catch up with the major Western powers.
After their deaths in the early part of the 1900's, Meiji Jingu Shrine was built to venerate them. Meiji Jingu Shrine became a meeting point for Japanese right wing radicals leading up to World War II, in which it was destroyed by American bombing in 1945 and rebuilt through public donations in 1958.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Meiji Jingu Shrine is Late May to Late June for the spectacular iris garden.
Tip: Also check out nearby Harajuku, a popular and fashionable part of Tokyo famous for its street fashion and cosplay.
Meiji Jingu Shrine Features
The two torii gates at the entrance to the shrine are 40 feet high. When you pass through (under), you are symbolically entering a sacred place and leaving behind the everyday. The path to the shrine buildings is lined by large cedar trees.
Note: unless you like crowds, do NOT go to Meiji Jingu Shrine on November 3rd, which is the Emperor Meiji's birthday and also a national holiday, or on New Year's Day. As many as a million people jam the shrine and park on these two days.
Perhaps the most beautiful area in Meiji Jingu Shrine is the Inner Garden (Jingu Nai-en or Gyoen; admission 500 yen), which in late June is filled with over 150 species of irises in full bloom in the Minami-ike Shobuda (Iris Garden). It is said the Emperor Meiji designed the Nai-en Garden himself for the pleasure of his wife. Further in is the Treasure House Annex (Admission 500 yen), where the royal couple's clothes and personal things are kept.
The Treasure House (Admission 500 yen) to the north of the main shrine buildings exhibits portraits of previous Japanese emperors and the elaborate court kimono worn by the Meiji monarchs.
Other buildings of note in the shrine complex are a Kaguraden for sacred kagura dances and the various shrine gates: Minami Shinmon, Gehaiden and the huge Otorii gate built in 1975 from Japanese cypress from Mount Tandai in Taiwan. Next to the Treasure Museum is the Shiseikan Dojo (Martial Arts Training Hall).
The park that surrounds Meiji Jingu Shrine is a forest of some 120,000 trees of 365 different species. The trees were brought from all over Japan and now the forest is a haven for many species of birds. Winter sees a large number of Mandarin ducks gather at the North Pond in front of the Treasure Museum. You quickly forget you are in the world's largest city.
What to See at Meiji Shrine
The Giant Torii Shrine Gate
Entry to the shrine grounds is marked by a huge torii shrine gate. The gate is constructed from Japanese cypress and is one of the largest in Japan. The tree used to create the torii gate was more than 1,500 years old and it is an impressive entry point to this magnificent shrine.
The Minami-shin Mon
The Minami-shin Mon is the main shrine gate to the inner sanctuary of Meiji Jingu Shrine. It is quite beautiful and you reach it upon passing the final myojin torii gate. It was built in 1921 and is simple and classic in its design.
The Main Shrine Buildings
Located in the middle of a beautiful forest, the present shrine buildings date from 1958. The buildings consist of the honden (The Main Hall), noritoden (The Prayer Recital Hall), naihaiden (The Inner Shrine Hall), gehaiden (The Outer Shrine Hall), and shinko (The Treasure House). The buildings are made from Japanese cypress wood from the Kiso region of Nagano (regarded as the best in Japan) with green cooper plates used for the roofs. The buildings are a great example of Japanese Shinto architecture.
Meiji Jingu Shrine Shinko Treasure House
The Shinko Treasure House was constructed a year after the shrine opened, it displays personal items belonging to the Emperor and Empress. One of the most interesting is the carriage used by the Emperor for the formal declaration of the Meiji Constitution in 1889.
Meiji Jingu Shrine Inner Garden
The Inner Garden (Meiji-jingu Gyoen) is located in the southern section of the shrine grounds, an entrance fee of 500 yen is required to enter the garden. The garden is very popular during the middle of June when the beautiful irises are in bloom. It is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Meiji Jingu Shrine Sake Barrels
An interesting thing you will spot at Meiji Jingu Shrine is this huge collection of sake barrels. They are called kazaridaru in Japanese and are a decorative display. Sake traditionally has been a connection between the gods and people in Japan. These sake barrels are offered every year to the enshrined deities at Meiji Jingu Shrine. They have been donated by sake brewers from around Japan to the shrine with the sake being used for shrine ceremonies and festivals.
Meiji Jingu Shrine Festivals
Meiji Jingu's spring festival is May 2-3; fall festival November 1-3. Other festivals held at Meiji Shrine include a sumo grand champion ring entering ceremony in January, a National Foundation Day Festival on February 11 and a prayer ceremony for agricultural fertility also held in February.
Meiji Shrine is also a very popular place for wealthy Japanese to celebrate a traditional Shinto-style wedding. Wedding ceremonies are often held at Meiji Memorial Hall (Meiji Kinenkan) with a parade and blessing in the area outside the Main Hall. Meiji Kinenkan, near JR Shinanomachi Station on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line, was where the Meiji Constitution was drafted and is a beautiful building set in lovely grounds. An exclusive summer beer garden occupies the lawn terrace in summer with food set courses begining from around 8,000 yen.
What's good about Meiji Jingu?
1) Meiji Jingu is one of the best places to see a Shinto wedding procession. They are very colourful and take place in front of the main building, usually on weekends. You won’t be able to see an actual wedding ceremony itself, but the processions are very impressive. They are quite solemn, led by the priests and miko (women or girls who assist in the ceremonies), and the bride and groom who walk under a large red parasol. When the processions appear, there is a usually a rush as visitors try to get a good position to take pictures of brides in kimono and bridegrooms in hakama, followed by parents and guests. The excitement level can be pretty high as the processions are very colourful. That shot of the bride, groom and bride’s mother walking under the huge umbrella carried by the priests is one the highlights of any visit to Meiji shrine for many visitors;
2) The shrine can also be a great place to take part in/observe many different events it holds. Some of them are hanami (cherry blossoms), New Years prayers and other events including sumo ceremonies, Japanese horse archery and of course many events on the Shinto religious calendar, and;
3) As it is just a one minute walk from busy Harajuku station, it is of course very close to Harajuku. Harajuku is one of the most fashionable and trendy areas in Tokyo. There is also Takeshita street just over the road from Harajuku station, it is one of Tokyo’s focus points for the young. And right next door to the shrine is Yoyogi park, one of the most popular parks in Tokyo. So much to see in one is Yoyogi park. So in quite a small area there is a lot to see there. Even with a whole day you probably wouldn`t be able to see it all.
What's not so good?
1) On occasion, it can be very difficult to get a good shot of a wedding procession as everyone there also wants a nice shot. Please keep aware and don’t accidentally intrude into the wedding party’s path;
2) At the Homotsuden (i.e. the museum), most of the material is written in Japanese and it isn’t open on weekdays;
3) The park at the back of the shrine could be a great place for a picnic, but unfortunately eating there isn’t allowed. I wish it were because it would be a great place for a picnic, and;
4) If you go there for New Years prayers in December be prepared to enter the most crowded place in your life. Usually the walk to the main building from the entrance takes about five to 10 minutes depending on pace. On New Year’s Eve that 10 minute walk will probably take an hour or more.
To pay respect : At a Torii (shrine archway): Bow once when entering and leaving.
At Temizuya (water well): Rinse your left hand then right hand. Then Rinse your mouth with your left hand before rinse your left hand again. Lastly rinse the dipper (allow the remaining water to run down the handle of the dipper).
At the Main Shrine building: Bow twice. Clap your hands twice. Make a wish if you like & Bow once again.
How to get there
By car: Approximately 5 minutes from Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Route 4, Shinjuku Line, Yoyogi Interchange.
By train: 1 minute walk from JR Harajuku Station. 5 minutes by foot from Yoyogi Station. 1 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) Station. 5 minutes by foot from Odakyu Line Sangubashi Station.
Reviews by visitors
We went on a Sunday around noon after our visit to the East Imperial Gardens. The shrine is within Yoyogi Park which is right off the Shinjuku metro station. It is a more natural setting. Not as manicured as the East Imperial Gardens. You are greeted by a large massive gate. The shrine is down at the end of a wide path shaded by large trees. On the way you will pass a wall of sake barrels. Once you enter the shrine area, you will see the two most beautiful holy trees you have seen. I've never seen trees with such a round circumference tops. Around each of their trunks you will see the prayers and wishes of many. Entrance to the shrine is free. We didn't venture into any gardens. We spent about an hour visiting.
Once you enter you forget that you are in a city. This is a must see in Tokyo. Just don't wear sandals because the path to the shrine is gravel which can make for an uncomfortable walk.
I think it's because I had been to Nikko the day before that the Meiji Jingu didn't meet my expectations. It is in a lovely garden setting, and is very well maintained, etc., but it just looked far too "new". Meiji Jingu is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
It is apparently considered something very special by the Japanese - I thought it was a bit dull. Loved the gardens though!
The Meji Jingu Shrine and Gardens were so beautiful! To be honest, I enjoyed walking around the gardens more than the shrine itself, because the shrine was rather crowded with tourists, but walking through the garden was like walking through a forest - it was quiet and peaceful, and so beautiful. Unfortunately, I was not there for the peak iris season, but I can imagine how beautiful it would be when the flowers are in full bloom. While the Meji grounds are free to enter, there is a small fee of ¥500 to enter the garden area, but I would definitely recommend it because it was very serene.
Temple was under renovation when we went and they are now strict with pictures, admonishing tourists trying to take pictures of the prayer box, which was annoying (you pay a fee for a number that comes out of a shaken prayer box, then you match your number to a blessing). We had come several years ago and taken great pictures, not sure why it's a problem now (knocked it down a star)
The park is well maintained and we went during the iris bloom and was specked in colors! The trails have tight gravel and can be navigated with a stroller with a few areas of stairs that are not too taxing to lift it along if you are similarly encumbered. There are signs in English, facilities and lots of people! Come early or on a weekday to find a bit of that serenity!
An amazing shrine in a middle of a unbelievably serene park. I did not think this could exist in such a large city. Come early to avoid crowds and to get good photos.
We entered via the Yoyogi (NE entrance) which was super quiet and peaceful. Luckily, we were able to experience a wedding procession. The iris garden was beautiful. After spending around an hour we exited the main Harajuku entrance which was considerably busier.
We ended up taking the long way around and not through the “main” entrance from Yoyogi Station on the Yamanote Line. This was actually quite nice since we bypassed the parking lot and the tour buses. For a while, it felt like we were walking alone through a forest towards a shrine – until we hit the main shrine area.
The shrine itself is pretty plain, but very peaceful and it was a great “first” shrine for us. After visiting over 7-8 other shrines in between Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, and Kyoto, I still think the charms sold at Meiji Shrine are the prettiest and have the best quality. Also, I purchased my temple stamp book here at Meiji and after going to all the other shrines (and spying on other people’s stamp books while in line), I think the one sold at Meiji is definitely the prettiest – it’s more elegant and distinct that others.
Its primarily one of the major tourist attractions in Japan, as such its a must visit for first timers. I've actually taken the time to visit the location all 3 times I visited Japan. I'd recommend taking it as part of a tour package, otherwise its right behind Harajuku JR stop and near MeijiJingu-Mae Metro stop
We wanted to go to Harajuku and got off at the Meiji Jingumae station so decided to see this shrine first. It's in a huge park but is currently under renovation. However, being a Sunday, we lucked out and saw a traditional Japanese wedding! Huge park but beautiful and quiet. No place to sit though and the bathrooms have no soap so be prepared!
We had heard that it was best to visit the shrines early in the morning so we got there on a Monday morning by 9.00am which was great as it wasn't that busy.
There is a long path on the way to the Meiji Shrine that show barrels of concecrated wine donated by the French wineries as well as barrels of sake wrapped in straw which make a great background for a photo. Walked up to the shrine and did the usual rituals of purifying yourself with the water, giving a donation then clapping twice and bowing. It was a nice and peaceful thing to do.
As we were walking out the tourist buses arrived and there were masses of people so it was well worth getting there early where you could appreciate it.
Although there were loads of people (tourists) about we still found this place fascinating. Our guide showed us how to purify our hands and mouths and then on to the shrine where we were told to bow deeply twice then clap hands twice then bow again and then pray. As the Japanese say r's instead of l's the instructions made us giggle! We saw several couples going in the surrounding buildings to be married and were all beautifully dressed. A very interesting place.
If, like me, you are suffering from any jet lag and waking up very early, then this is a great place to enjoy the morning sun. Opens and sunrise, is extremely quiet until around 09:00 and is incredibly beautiful and tranquil. I would recommend paying to go into the emperors gardens and seeig the karp pond, irises and the well.
I did see a snake crossing the footpath in front of us; something to keep in mind if you have pets/ small children.
We were wowed when we saw the massive Torii (gate) soon after exiting the Harajuku Station. From the entrance to the shrine, the long straight, path is lined on both sides by massive trees apparently replanted from other parts of Japan, forming a green canopy that transports you away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A bit of a pity that parts of the shrine were covered up for restoration works when we were there.
It was a great leisure walk. We started from the Harajuku entrance and walked to the shrine It felt like we were in the middle of a forest and not the middle of busy Tokyo. The shrine is under construction but it didn't take away from it's beauty. I love the ritual of cleansing before sending your prayers. I wished we could have gone into the shrine and seen everything up close. Nonetheless, the entire experience left me feeling blessed and peaceful.
We visited Meiji Jingu with a local friend, and it was a wonderful experience. Tucked away in a well manicured, deeply shady park (offering a much needed break from summer heat!), the shrine is a once a solemn place and welcoming of foreigners. Signs explain a ritual involving purification with water, bowing, clapping, and depositing of coins. Various charms are available for the equivalent of just a few USD (between about 300 and 800 yen), and make lovely gifts.
Visiting this shrine is a must for anyone coming to Tokyo for a visit. It offers some great walks and is effectively free to visit. A great way to experience some traditional Japanese culture when in the hustle bustle of Tokyo.
The temple is being renovated so nothing to see there but they have a bonsai display of trees hundreds of years old. The park is large, shady and peaceful (no jogging allowed) and seems to be a shortcut across town. We utilized it like that several times.
That is a beautiful and peaceful place to spend free time. I'm happy we went there. It was a lot of people, but I still felt like very calm and peaceful place. Just I didn't see any bench to sit and enjoy a day, so I came back home very tired, walked without stop too much :P
Impressive size gates and temple and provides a nice stroll to walk through the grounds. You have the option to put a wish/prayer (for a fee) on wood that hangs from a big tree and are expected to wash your hands in the special water before going up to the temple. Can't really go in the temple building but can walk up to and around the grounds.
Located just a few minutes walk from Harajuku Station, the Meiji Jingu Shrine is a peaceful and serene area right in the middle of the city.
As opposed to practically everywhere else we went, there was plenty of space here to move around and explore the grounds. The forest area is large and expansive and very well maintained. It was very calming to just walk around and take in Mother Nature for a little bit.
The actual Shrine its self, while not nearly as ornate as all the Thai temples I have visited, was still beautiful and quite striking! We would just observe what the locals were doing as far as rituals and customs and the like. It was fascinating taking it all in!
The park is free to wander about, however they do have an "Inner Garden" available to see for 500 Yen ($4.14 USD), as well as the Meiji Jingu Treasure House, also for 500 Yen.
Don't forget to check out the wall of sake barrels and wine barrels along the pathway as well.
Another tidbit I have to throw in is the public restrooms here were freaking spotless! This part alone impressed the hell out of me! lol
This is an easy to find Shrine and worthy of a spot on your Tokyo itinerary, especially if staying in the Shinjuku or Shibuya area!
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