Meiji Shrine can be a breath of fresh air for those navigating their way through Tokyo. In my opinion, it’s one of the most peaceful and tranquil areas in the whole city. A stark contrast to the built-up areas of Tokyo, you’ll find thousands of trees and plenty of open space to unwind. Upon leaving the shrine, you’ll feel reinvigorated and ready to conquer the rest of Tokyo’s sights.
Construction began in 1915 to honour the late Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The vast grounds and trees were paramount in creating a tranquil environment that to this day is able to block out the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Over 110,000 trees have been donated from across Japan and abroad to create this massive forest. Furthermore, Meiji Shrine is located directly in the middle and features a simple yet stunning architectural presence.
Make a Wish at Meiji Shrine
Shinto worshipers have a tradition of writing wishes on small wooden plaques called emas and hanging them at shrines. Meiji is no different, the majority of visitors can be seen contemplating what to write on their plaque. It’s most common to ask for success on exams, good health or a successful marriage. An ema costs approximately $5. In addition, there are sharpies available to make sure that the gods can read your handwriting. Even if you don’t believe in wishes, purchasing a plaque provides the temple with a much-needed source of revenue. Without the support of visitors, beautiful shrines like Meiji would slowly deteriorate.
Now that you’ve made a wish, it’s time to explore some of Meiji’s other areas. For example, the forest plays home to a beautiful garden in the southern end and a treasure house in the north. You’ll probably want to stay here forever. However, if you’re ready to leave Meiji, the most popular attractions nearby are Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku. I hope you’ve had a good rest because these places are crazy in the best of ways.
Thanks for reading, be sure to check out my Tokyo City Guide for more things to do.