Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tokyo's Meiji Jingu Shrine


Ahhh, peace at last. Meiji Jingu Shrine was our last stop during our busy first day of Tokyo touring. Nestled in a 175-acre forest, the surrounding city just melts away when you walk through the cypress torii gates leading to this Shinto shrine. I also discovered that if you leave your youngest two kids and your hubby at the cafe annex, all whining about tired feet melt away, too.

The late afternoon light filtered through the trees.

Too bad there's no happy hour at the shrine, because man oh man, do they have a lot of liquor here. Barrels and barrels of Burgundy wine line one side of the path to honor the Meiji emperor who introduced red wine to Japan. The other side is lined with barrels of sake. East meets West. If only I had a tap and an empty glass on me.

Pick your poison. Wine or Sake?

After a bit, we finally reached the shrine. But before we went in, we stopped at the temizusha (font) to ritually cleanse ourselves before entering. The more I travel, the more I realize how many cultures and religions use water to symbolically purify themselves.  

Perform ablutions but don't toss in coins.

Built out of cypress and copper, the shrine may look like something from centuries ago, but the original shrine was established in 1920. That one burned in the fires of World War II, and the current building is merely 54 years old.

Looking back at the entrance to Meiji Jungu Shrine


Over in one corner, numerous ema plaques hung from hooks.  The shrine sells blank wooden tablets for Shinto worshippers to write their wishes and prayers on before hanging them up for spirits and gods to receive them. We noticed these at all the Shinto shrines we visited this trip.

If my son had written one, it would say, "I wish mom would take me to the Nintendo building."


This kimono clad lady was practically a blur as she hurried back to
the Hall of Sacred Music and Dance.

My boy and I eventually made our way back to the cafe where we had jettisoned the rest of the family. The gift shop next door had a great selection of tasteful but affordable Japanese souvenirs. As we made our way back to the entrance torii gate, daylight gave way to dusk. We emerged from this quiet forest oasis back into the glittering cement jungle that is Tokyo.


This post is part of Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom?

10 comments:

  1. Very cool! Thanks for linking up - are you headed "home" soon?

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    1. One more week until our home visit!

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  2. Such an interesting place to visit! I am intrigued by the plaques with prayers and wishes written on them.

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    1. The counter selling tablets was already closed by the time we got there, or else I would have hung up my own wish.

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  3. LOL. I love that you left the whining/husband & kids at the cafe. Could I get you to explain that theory to my wife?
    Cool looking temple. I would have never guessed it was only 50 years old. Everything shaped like that automatically qualifies as having centuries of history in my mind.

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    1. Does your youngest have the problem of being too big for a stroller but not having enough stamina to keep up with everyone else? My husband's other option was to carry our 6-year-old, so he thought staying at the cafe wasn't so bad. Or maybe I was so grumpy from listening to all the whining that they didn't want to be with me.

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  4. "If only I had a tap and an empty glass on me" - hee! I'm sure I'd feel the same way. Yet to visit Tokyo but it has long been on my list of places to visit.

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    1. When you go to Tokyo, I can't wait to read what great restaurants you visited.

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  5. We really liked the Meiji Jingu Shrine. It helped to have those shaded paths on a hot summer day. We went on a Sunday and there were quite a few wedding parties there. It was so interesting. Standing by those ema plaques, I almost wished I knew how to read in Japanese just to be nosy and read the wishes. :-)

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    1. Your blog was very helpful in planning our trip. Were the wedding parties in traditional Japanese clotes? That would have been interesting. We saw a few wedding pictures being taken other places, but they wore Western style white gowns.

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