Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Tokyo] Meiji Shrine 明治神宮

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Meiji Shrine 明治神宮

Add: 1-1, Kamizono-chō, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053
Tel: 03-3379-5511
Hours: varies throughout the year, check website for details
Price: free
Visited: Jan 2011

Meiji Jingu is an expansive Shinto shrine built in 1920 as a dedication for Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. A must-visit for first-timers in Tokyo.

At the entrance there is, like at all other Shinto shrines, a temizuya where you are supposed to cleanse yourself before entering the sacred ground of the gods. Here’s the drill: rinse your left hand, rinse your right hand, pour water into your left hand, rinse you mouth (but don’t touch the dipper directly with your lips), rinse your left hand again, and finally, rinse the dipper before putting it back.

We happened to run into a Shinto wedding procession, which apparently happens quite often as it is a popular practice to get married in Meiji Shrine. The procession was led by two priests and two shrine maidens, followed by the couple under a red umbrella, and finally family and friends. There were plenty of spectators snapping pictures here and there, forming another line outside the procession. Quite a view.

After getting my fair share of photos of the wedding procession, we headed to the Main Hall where we made wishes to the gods. Here’s what to do: put some coins into the offering box, bow twice, clap your hands twice, make a wish, bow again. I snapped a picture of the Main Hall before I was told off by a stern man in uniform. No photography allowed in the Main Hall. Oops.

You can also buy an Ema, a wooden tablet onto which wishes may be written. It was quite fun to see wishes written in all sorts of different languages.

You can also purchase an Omamori, which is a lucky charm of a specific occasion or purpose (e.g. for traffic safety, for health, for successful studies, etc.) The one I bought from Jishu Shrine at Kiyomizu-dera still hangs on my purse, and the general practice is to remove it only after purpose is fulfilled.

On our way out we spotted a little girl in her adorable kimono outfit. She could barely walk in those wooden sandals…:)

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Written by sugarednspiced

January 28th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Posted in tokyo

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