Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine Info: located in Tokyo, Japan near Harajuku Station is the Shinto shrine dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. Emperor Meiji died in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914. After the demise of the Emperor and Empress, this shrine was constructed to venerate them. Their souls were enshrined on November 1, 1920. The original building was destroyed during World War II. The present shrine was completed in October, 1958.

The shrine grounds consist of two areas:

  • Naien, or the inner precinct/garden, centered on the shrine buildings, which include a treasure museum that houses articles of the Emperor and Empress enshrined here. The treasure museum is built in the Azekurazukuri style.
  • Gaien, or the outer precinct/garden, which includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery that houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrative of the events in the lives of the Emperor and his consort. It also includes a variety of sports facilities, including the National Stadium, and is seen as the center of Japanese sports. It also includes the Meiji Memorial Hall, which was originally used for governmental meetings, including discussions surrounding the drafting of the Meiji Constitution in the late 19th century. Today it is used for Shinto weddings.

These areas are covered by an evergreen forest of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. This 700,000 square-meter forest (about 175 acres) is visited by many people both as a spiritual home of the people and as a recreation and relaxation area in the center of Tokyo.

The shrine was built in a garden area where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken sometimes visited. The shrine was built in the Nagarezukuri style and is made up primarily of Japanese cypress from Kiso, which is considered the best lumber produced in Japan. (Wikipedia)

There were several Traditional Japanese weddings going on when Meredith and I were there on Sunday.

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