Meiji Jingu is the Shinto Shrine dedicated to the memory of Emperor Meiji and his Empress Shoken. Following their death, the people of Japan constructed the Meiji Shrine to venerate them; This temple, dedicated to enshrining their souls, opened November 1, 1920. The Shrine itself consists of three areas: the Naien or inner precinct, the Gaien or outer precinct, and the Meiji Memorial Hall. [Click here for a excellent 360 virtual tour of the grounds that is 12 minutes long--it will open in a new window] The photo to the left shows the full scope of the shrine, including the evergreen forest of 120,000 trees representing 365 species, donated from all over Japan. The photo to the right shows the Torii gate than marks the path to the inner precinct.
Entrance to the
shrine proper is gained through the Minami Shimon, or Great
South Gate, shown in the photo to the left. These building were all
destroyed by air raids during World War II, and were rebuilt in 1958.
The Main Shrine, shown in the photo to the right, is built in the
Nagerezulekuri style. It consists of an outer shrine (Gehaiden)
shown here, as well as an inner shrine (Naihaiden) behind it.
Also located on the grounds are the Shinko, or Treasury House,
as well as the Shinsenjo, the kitchen for preparing foods used
The inner precinct is laid out in a great courtyard, with the main entrance from the south, and the main shrine area in the northeast quadrant. There is also a small entrance to the east, shown in the photo to the left. One of the familiar sites at Japanese shrines are the barrels of sake that have been blessed by the priests; they are shown in the photo to the right. Another common site at shrines such as the Meiji are the prayers and wishes, written on small wooden slats, that are posted on the ema, a wooden wishing post outside the temples. (photo at the bottom left); petitioners write their hopes for good fortune on the wooden slats and then offer prayers at the shrine.
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