Meiji Shrine has been one of the top tourist destinations in Tokyo for decades now. The shrine was built in …

The Magnificence of Meiji Shrine


Meiji Shrine has been one of the top tourist destinations in Tokyo for decades now. The shrine was built in order to commemorate the late 19th-century emperor. It is located in an evergreen forest where an iris garden can also be found. At the main entrance of the shrine, you can find the 40 feet high torii (picture shown above). It is Japan’s custom to bow before you go through the torii as a sign of respect to god.

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On your way to the main hall of the shrine, you can see barrels of sake (rice wine). These sake barrels were donated by sake brewers around Japan every year to the deities of Meiji Shrine. Sake was believed to be the connection between gods and people in Japan.

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Before you proceed towards the shrine, you need to wash both hands and mouth in a water basin found in front of the shrine. It is Japan’s culture to make sure that both hands and mouth should be cleansed before entering a shrine. It is a way of purifying ourselves before praying to god.


How to purify yourself before offering your prayers in the shrine?


  1. Scoop up water using the wooden dipper.

  2. Then pour water on your left hand first.

  3. Pour water on your right hand.

  4. Cup your left palm and pour water into it.

  5. Wash your mouth with the water from your left hand. (DO NOT DRINK)

  6. Allow water to run back down the handle and place the wooden dipper back on the basin.

  7. Done 

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At the main hall of the shrine, there is also a correct way on how to offer your prayers.


How to offer your prayers in a shrine?


  1. Drop a coin / coins into the offering box.

  2. Bow twice.

  3. Clap twice and join your palms while offering your prayers.

  4. Bow once.

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There are various things to do in Meiji Shrine. In fact, this glorious shrine is famous for wedding ceremonies amongst Japanese people. You can also buy omikuji (fortune-telling paper) which is available in both Japanese and English. Various kinds of Japanese lucky charms are also available in shrines around Japan. These are believed to bring you luck and power. The picture above shows the hanging prayers written in ‘ema’ or wooden wishing plaques left by some visitors.


Harajuku Station




5AM ~6PM