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Meiji Jingu: Haven in the Heart of Tokyo

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

The Shinto shrine complex is home to beautiful, historically significant Japanese buildings in a tranquil setting.

Meiji Jingu was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken in 1920 to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration that led to enormous political and social change in Japan. The shrine was destroyed during World War II but was later rebuilt in its current form.

Shrine highlights

The main shrine complex is certainly worth a visit; it is easy to see why three million visitors come to the shrine annually for New Year celebrations. It has even been visited by high-profile foreign politicians, such as George W Bush and Hillary Clinton, during their visits to Japan.

The naien, or inner precinct, houses the main buildings and a museum displaying articles of the emperor and empress. The gaien, or outer precinct, features the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, which hosts a vast collection of art from the Meji period (1868–1912), and several national stadiums.

At Meiji Jingu, visitors can see various Shinto activities and may even be lucky enough to catch part of a wedding procession as many ceremonies are held there each year.

Exploring the grounds

What really makes this shrine stand out from others in Japan is the vast wooded grounds. More than 120,000 trees of 365 species were transported from across Japan to create a forested area of 70 hectares. The result is a peaceful escape from the busy city that lies at the other side of the massive torii gate.

Don't forget to look out for the hundreds of decorative sake bottles on display as offerings to the shrine.

Meiji Jingu is adjacent to Yoyogi Park, another large green and forested area popular among visitors and local people for recreation and relaxation.

How to get there

Meiji Jingu is located near one of Tokyo’s busiest hubs, Harajuku Station, which is on the JR Yamanote line.

Find out more

For more information, visit Meiji Jingu’s webpage.

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