Whether your main purpose for coming to Japan is to indulge in its crazy culture, or do a lot of shopping, a visit to Japan just would not be the same without taking time to go to one of its most sacred sites. Before you shop to your heart’s content at Harajuku, we suggest that you visit a shrine, say a prayer of thanksgiving and even make a wish. All these, you can do at the Meiji Shrine.
Dubbed as the World’s Most Visited Sacred Site, the Meiji Shrine in Harajuku is a place that offers you one of the best and most quintessentially Japanese experiences. It is an iconic place for both locals and tourists, and whether you are Japanese or not, this remains one of the best spots in the country.
It’s only a stone’s-throw away from the Harajuku train station. Just turn right from the station and you will immediately see signs that lead toward the Meiji Shrine Bridge. Even just approaching the Meiji Shrine feels like entering a sacred sanctuary. Surrounded by trees and other lush greenery, you can’t help but feel relaxed and at one with nature.
Once you arrive, you can spot some guides written in English for your convenience. These guides tell you a wealth of information about the shrine. After gathering some knowledge on the importance of the shrine, you can make your way to the omikuji, fortune strips that you can acquire, as well as make a wish by writing at some available tablets that you can write on. These parts of the shrine are very picturesque because you can really see the large number of people that visit the shrine to know their fortunes and to make their wishes.
There are also some very special exhibitions that take place at the Meiji Shrine every now and then, so if you would like to know what exhibitions you can catch, make sure to visit the Meiji Jingu’s official website. The website is in English so you won’t be lost.
Aside from exhibitions, the Meiji Shrine is also a venue for special Japanese occasions like traditional weddings. It is a wonderful treat to catch a traditional wedding at the Meiji Shrine because you can see all the beautiful details and the traditional garments that the bride and groom, as well as their guests wear.
There is also a souvenir shop at the shrine called Souvenir MORI, and inside you’ll be able to pick up some of the best, traditional souvenir (omiyage) items ranging from dolls to sweets.
A visit to Meiji Jingu is quite an experience but can also stir your appetite. So if you feel the need to rest and have a bite to eat, visit the nearby snack counter. Order a serving of authentic Japanese Takoyaki as a pick-me-up. And after satisfying your tummy and regaining your energy, you can set off on your much-awaited shopping spree in Harajuku!
It’s always fun to mix travel with historic, traditional as well as contemporary attractions to ensure that you have the most holistic experience of Japan. Do let us know if you ever visit the Meiji Jingu and we hope that you receive a good omikuji fortune!