Tokyo Day IV: Meiji Shrine

After two days of waking up early we got the chance to sleep in! I really wanted to visit some shrines and temples and learn more about the culture and beliefs in Japan. Meiji Shrine was at the top of my list! It took us about half an hour to get to the shrine and we only walked about five minutes from the subway stop, not bad.

Although we were just steps from the hustle and bustle of the city we felt like we were transported. There are over 100,000 trees in the forest, amazing. The official shrine description: Meiji Jingu’s forest was created in honour of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, for their souls to dwell in and with every tree sincerely planted by hand. This forest was carefully planned as an eternal forest that recreates itself. Arriving at the entrance we felt very peaceful. There were people taking pictures of the entrance and it still didn’t take away from the peaceful setting. We could her the birds chirping, it was a really nice feeling.DSC_7175_FotorDSC_7188_FotorSake barrels!DSC_7200_Fotor

The Torii Gate before the entrance. This is the biggest Torii Gate in Japan it was actually rebuilt in 1975 after the original in 1920 was destroyed.DSC_7192_Fotor

Before entering the grounds we did have to cleanse ourselves. First we use the dipper to rinse our left hand and then our right hand. After we pour water into our left hand and rinse our mouths. Last we rinse our left hand again and rinse the dipper. These actions are to express respect.DSC_7208_FotorDSC_7219_Fotor

Meiji is a Shinto shrine. Shinto is known as Japan’s ancient original religion. Shinto has no funder, no holy book and no concept of religious conversion. My favorite thing about this religion is that it values harmony with nature and virtues such as “Mogokoro (sincere heart).” It was awesome to read that and I am so interested to learn more about Shinto.DSC_7210_FotorDSC_7216_Fotor

Emperor Meiji was the 122nd emperor of Japan. Emperor Meiji took initiative to promote friendship with other countries and to introduce western civilization. He did all this while still preserving Japanese identity.DSC_7226_Fotor

I think one of my favorite things on the grounds was the husband and wife tree, which are joined by the sacred rope. They were planted in 1920 in honor of the emperor and empress’s enshrinement.DSC_7232_FotorDSC_7233_FotorCutest couple ever!DSC_7231_FotorDSC_7252_FotorDSC_7242_Fotor

Honestly, I fell in love with Meiji it was such a beautiful place and so peaceful. I definitely loved learning about everything on the grounds and how special every single thing was. We bought a roof tile in the entrance and we have left our mark in Meiji for the next seven years. We wrote our wishes and prayers on the tile and it was definitely such a special thing to do. I hope to go back and see it before they take it down! Such a great trip!

Follow the rest of our fourth day in Tokyo adventure next week! Next stop; Sensoji Temple!

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