Meiji-Jingu Shrine 明治神宮
This is one of the most popular Shinto shrines for tourists and locals alike that is dedicated to the deified spirits of the Meiji Emperor and his consort, and is located near the trendy Harajuku area, just beside the JR Yamanote Line’s Harajuku station.
After the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken passed away in 1912 and 1914 respectively, the people of Japan donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and oversees to create the shrine grounds in commemoration of their contributions and virtues. The sprawling Meijijingu Shrine grounds was completed in 1920, covering an area larger than the Vatican City.
Every year over the first three days of the New Year over three million visitors come here to offer first prayers of the year. The long pebble pathed approach is surrounded by cedar trees, making for a serene and contemplative walk, perfect for new year resolution making and reflection. You will also see an impressive display of sake barrels here donated to the shrine by various sake brewers around Japan. People come here to pray for luck of all kinds, from wealth, health to good relationships and to get charms to ward off bad luck.
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Really nice and peaceful place. I went early morning and there was maybe 8 other people there. It was super relaxing and was of exponentially slower pace than the surrounding Harajuku area. It felt like it wasn't even in the Harajuku area.
A beautiful place. I'd recommend taking the JR Yamanote line to Harajuku station, or the Chiyoda line to Meiji-Jingumae. Both will drop you near the main pathway to the shrine. If you're lucky, as we were, you might get to see a wedding procession take place.
Afterwards, you can take a stroll around Yoyogi Park (within walking distance, or the next stop on the Chiyoda line - Yoyogi-koen - if you want to start there first), do some shopping in Harajuku, or head back towards Meiji-Jinguemae where you'll find a rooftop Starbucks in Omotesando's Tokyu Plaza. A nighttime stroll through Omotesando is worth scheduling in, too, if you're making a day of it!
This shrine is fantastic, though they are currently reconstructing the copper roof so you cannot see the main temple. If ayou would like, you can donate 3000¥. (30$) to buy a copper tile for the roof with your name. A unique way to be connected to this place.