Tokyo’s oasis of calm

I don’t know about you, but I love Meiji Jingu. To me, Meiji Jingu is like a cool, oasis of calm in the heart of Tokyo. Tokyo is a wonderful place but, like any major city, the hustle and bustle can get a bit much sometimes. Meiji Jingu is a good place to escape to at such times because you can rest under the shade of the trees, listen to the birds, and catch your breath.

Meiji Jingu

☆★☆

Meiji Jingu

Even on a weekend, such as Sunday 17th April when I went there, Meiji Jingu never seems too crowded because of its sheer size. The shrine complex is housed in a huge park full of leafy tunnels created by tall trees. It’s cool, a little dark, and fairly calm. (I’m sure there are occasions when this is not true, such as New Year, but generally speaking…)

If you go there on a weekend, you might even be lucky enough to catch a traditional Japanese wedding.  No one ever seems to mind if you take photos from a respectful distance.

Meiji Jingu

☆★☆

Meiji Jingu

☆★☆

Meiji Jingu

☆★☆

Meiji Jingu

You might also catch a glimpse of some “shrine maidens”:

Meiji Jingu

Actually, I don’t think that’s their real name, but that’s what my friend calls them. Does anyone know what they’re really called?

While you’re at Meiji Jingu, why not buy some “omamori” (good luck charms) or write an “ema” (small wooden board on which you write prayers and wishes).

Meiji Jingu

Meiji Jingu is one of the few shrines I know in Japan which is so foreigner friendly that it not only has omamori meanings labelled in English, but it also has information about ema in English.

Meiji Jingu

When you look at the ema hanging up you will see a lot written in languages other than Japanese, which I think is really wonderful.

Meiji Jingu

You can buy ema at Meiji Jingu for 500 Yen. Then, you just take it to the area where the ema are hung, write your message, and hang it up. It’s a nice way to leave your mark in Japan, I think.

Meiji Jingu

☆★☆

Meiji Jingu

If you do go to Meiji Jingu, you might also want to check out the cafe, restaurant and souvenir shops in the middle. At first, it seemed strange to me to have a souvenir shop in the middle of a shrine, but I’ve actually grown to love the place. The restaurant is a little expensive, but I think the food is really good (and the menu is in English!). If you’re on a budget, the cafe is much more reasonable.

Lunch at Meiji Jingu

Once you’re done enjoying the calm oasis that is Meiji Jingu, why not exit in the direction of Yoyogi Park and Harajuku, as I did? More on that coming up soon! 😉

Meiji Jingu

4 thoughts on “Tokyo’s oasis of calm

  1. I loved Meiji Jingu when I visited a few years back… I plan to go back again this summer. It’s so cool and refreshing in there! Asakusa Temple is also quite foreigner friendly. They have English fortunes available.

    As for the shrine maidens, they are called “miko” in Japanese.

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  2. I agree with you regarding the tranquility of Meiji-Jingu set amidst the Tokyo rat race. The first time that I went there someone had told me that the shrine was the backdrop of some famous fight scene from a Japanese movie so I have this whole series of photos of me doing martial arts poses (very bad ones I might add) in various parts of the Meiji-Jingu grounds. Incidentally, I have no idea what that movie was so the photos don’t really represent anything except me making a fool of myself. 🙂

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