I arrived in Japan in the last week of May which is late spring. Just a week of living in Japan, I only manage to visit Tokyo Tower, Shiba Park, Zojoji Temple. I also frequently passed to Shibuya Crossing, and Hachiko Statue every time I go home by train. There are tons of interesting places just within Minato ward where I am staying but haven’t visited all of them yet. I would like to explore a bit farther and I thought of visiting Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park since it’s accessible from Roppongi via Oedo line. Somehow I have an idea what to expect there since it’s one of the crowd drawers in Tokyo.
Yoyogi is just 3 stations away from Roppongi via subway and will reach there by 7 minutes. I head off to Yoyogi armed with my trusted D90, smartphone and a coat just in case the cold is unforgivable. Honestly, I never checked any details about direction as I totally relied on Google maps to lead me into the right place. Still, I am lost on the crossroads and reckon on my judgment. I followed Yoyogi Park via the north entrance close to the Tokyo riding club.
As I enter from the Tori gate I experienced a similar kind of euphoria. A feeling of deja vu which reminds me of a childhood dream. Like the whiff coming from barks of the trees and rotten leaves is intoxicating. Petrichor, the unmistakably earthy scent produced after the rain touches the dry soil. The leaves are still damp as evident from the early rain. These simple things bring me joy. If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with old trees and forests, can say I’m a Dendrophile.
I proceed with my sauntering and met few people mostly who went for their routine run. I follow some tourists which I suspect will be heading to the Meiji Shrine as well. My guess had confirmed after reaching another Torii Gate at the west entrance. I went on and explore Meiji shrine main yard, central sanctuary, and prayer area. Locals and foreign tourists write their prayers on a votive tablet then hang it near the tree. Currently, the restorations are ongoing at the shrine in a preparation of its 100th year anniversary.
Meiji Shrine Main Yard
Tourist Centre and Souvenir Shop
Barrels of Sake, coming from Harajuku entrance
Lush surroundings at south entrance
Meiji Shrine had been established in 1920 in commemoration to the late Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. It is surrounded by approximately 100,00 trees donated from the different regions in Japan. This makes up the tranquil forest of Meiji Jingu.
One of the spectacular sight at Meiji Shrine is witnessing a traditional Japanese Shinto wedding ceremony. I was lucky enough to see it. The wedding procession starts from the east entrance headed by a two priest, pair of shrine maidens, the couple and their family parading on the yard. All of them wears the traditional Japanese dresses which highlights its unique culture.
First-time visitors in Tokyo must include Meiji Shrine on their list. It will give you a glimpse of its rich history and what is Japan.
Meiji Shrine is accessible via these Train Lines
JR Yamanote Line – Harajuku Station
Toei Oedo Subway Line – Yoyogi Station
Metro Chiyoda Line – Meijijingu – Mae Station
Metro Fukutoshin Line – Meijijingu- Mae Station