The Meiji Shrine, also known as”Meiji Jingu”, is located near the Harajuku Station in Tokyo, Japan. It is arguably the most popular and revered Shinto shrine in the city of Tokyo as it is dedicated to the souls of the late Emperor Meiji and the late Empress Shoken.
This shrine hosts several festivals throughout the year and is a must see for the discerning tourist.
You will find the shrine nestled in an evergreen forest of more than a hundred thousand trees set in seven hundred thousand square meters of land. The main buildings are located in what is known as the Inner Garden, and you can find the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery and the ode to modern architecture, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, which is shaped like a Samurai helmet, in the Outer Garden.
Ideally, you should approach the shrine on foot through the Inner Garden by crossing over the bridge near the Harajuku Station and through an expansive gravel path that winds through the forest to an incredibly high gate called the O-torii. This gate is about 12 m. high and the largest in Japan.
If you are on a guided tour, you will probably be dropped off at the Treasure House Annex, which is found just ahead of the O-torii.
To the left of this gate is the absolutely delightful garden ‘Jingu Naien’, which is rumored to have been designed by the emperor himself for his empress. If you would like to see the wide variety of irises that populate this garden, you should plan your trip in June when they are in bloom.
If you continue on the gravel path, you will soon pass the north gate called the Kita-mon, which will take you to the main hall of the shrine. This honden, as the hall is called, is also made of cypress wood and shows off some amazingly designed roofs made of copper.