Meiji Shrine

The best place in Tokyo to see weddings & festivals

Wedding1
Saturdays & Sundays are the best time to catch a wedding procession at the Meiji Shrine

I think the Meiji Shrine has the most spectacular weddings, coming-of-age ceremonies, festivals and traditional events in town. Many people find it more beautiful than all the brightly lacquered shrines put together.

 

MainGate
The main gate in November, with bonsai chrysanthemums on either side of the entrance.

This is the place where Emperor Meiji and his Empress are buried. I take my friends here to see weddings, coming-of-age holidays, and festivals, because when it comes to dressing up, the Meiji Shrine does it in style.

3Kimonos
On Coming of Age Day (second Monday in January), 20-year-old girls deck themselves out in the most flamboyant and expensive kimonos they will ever own.
Ceremony
20-year-old boys wear priestly Shinto robes and hats.
4Girls
From November 1-15, families with children flock to the shrine for Shichi-Go-San pictures, all dressed in their finest kimonos.
Amazake
On New Year’s Day, shrine maidens ladle out warm saké to all visitors.
Chrysanthemum2
Don’t miss the big competitive chrysanthemum exhibits in November, featuring chrysanthemum bonsai and huge perfect specimens of famous varieties.

The shrine is beautiful and serene in every season, but if you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo when it snows, run as fast as you can to the Meiji Shrine to see how gorgeous the plain cedar and gold architecture is, all shrouded in white.
The shrine is beautiful and serene in every season, but if you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo when it snows, run as fast as you can to the Meiji Shrine to see how gorgeous the plain cedar and gold architecture is, all shrouded in white.

Shimenawa
The rice straw ropes called shimenawa are draped around anything that is believed to be the home of one of the resident gods.

Before we leave, let’s take a detour to the Nai-en GardenIt has wonderful walking paths, a large pond, a famous iris garden that blooms in June, and lots of blazing azaleas in April.

Hours: 9:00 – 16:00

Open: Every day, except the third Friday of each month

Admission: ¥500

The entrance to the gardens is between the second giant torii gate and the shrine buildings. If we’re lucky, we’ll see a real live tanuki there, like I did last May!

Tanuki
Look, a real live tanuki! Most people think they’re just characters from old legends, but here’s proof that the canids known as raccoon dogs actually exist.

Hours: 9:00 – 16:00

Treasure House: 9:00 – 16:00, open weekends and holidays only

Shrine admission: Free

DIRECTIONS & MAP

Nearby destinations: Harajuku, Japan Traditional Craft Center, Shibuya, Shimo-kitazawa, Shinjuku, Yoyogi Park

Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of one of Hoshi’s customers…read more

 

 


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