Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Meiji Jingu Shrine -Katelyn Schwennen

Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine

Meiji Jingu is a Shinto Shrine located in the Shibuya-ku area of Tokyo. Shinto is the ancient religion of Japan and no founder or holy book; however, concepts of the Shinto religion are woven throughout Japanese culture. The Meiji Jingu Shrine is dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Emperor Meiji took the throne in 1867 and worked to open communication with other countries and introduce Western ideologies and technologies to Japanese culture. Empress Shoken was passionate about encouraging women’s education and national and worldwide welfare.

After Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914, the people of Japan wanted to find a way to honor their virtues and commemorate them forever. Trees were donated from Japan and all over the world and the Meiji Jingu Shrine was established on November 1, 1920.


The Temizuya is a font which is used by anyone who enters the Meiji Shrine for purification. A small ladle is dipped into the water, each hand is washed, and ones lips are washed.

Sake Barrels Wrapped in Straw

The Sake Barrels are donated each year by the members of Meiji Jingu Zenkoku Shuzo Keishinkai to show deep respect for enshrined deities.

Ema, votive tablets for special personal prayers and gratitude towards the detities enshrined in the Shrine could be purchased, written on and placed on a large structure which held the tablets. Ema are offered each morning at Mikesai- the morning ceremony held each day and supplications were conveyed by priests.
We visited many different places in Tokyo today, but the Meiji Shrine was my favorite by far. One thing many people in my group noticed was how quiet the Meiji Shrine was even though it was nestled in a busy, bustling city. I felt at peace and happy, even though I did not participate in the Shinto religion. The ability for the Shinto shrine to take up a hefty piece of land in a crowded city shows how important the Shinto religion is for the Japanese people. It was interesting to see a people practicing their Shinto religion and comparing and contrasting this religion to religions at home.
If you ever visit Tokyo I would recommend visiting the Meiji Jingu Shrine!
-Katelyn Schwennen

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