Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū), located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. When Emperor Meiji died in 1912 and Empress Shōken in 1914, the Japanese people wished to pay their respects to the two influential Japanese figures. It was for this reason that Meiji Shrine was constructed and their souls enshrined on November 1, 1920.
The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II. The present iteration of the shrine was funded through a public fund-raising effort and completed in October, 1958.
Meiji Shrine was brought into the flow of current events with the 2009 visit of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After arriving in Tokyo on her first foreign trip representing the newly elected President Barack Obama, she made her way to this shrine in advance of meetings with Japan’s leaders to show her “respect toward history and the culture of Japan.”
This shrine is one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited. Although it is located in the heart of Tokyo, you feel as if you are miles away from the noise of the crowded city.
When Tony and I visited there in 2009, we were lucky enough to attend a tea ceremony at this traditional tea house.
Traditional wedding ceremonies are also performed at the shrine. Spring seems to be a very popular time for wedding ceremonies. The bride and groom are shielded by a red umbrella as they walk across the courtyard to the area where the ceremony is performed.
There are barrels of wine and sake donated to the shrine from around the world. According to travelblog “Emperor Meiji is known in part for his interest in western culture, and this interest is partially responsible for Japan’s modernism period during his reign. In particular, Emperor Meiji was known to enjoy pairing certain western foods with fine red wine. In his honor, several wineries around France donated barrels of the Emperor’s favorite wine, and these barrels are displayed on the side of the path to the shrine.”