Meiji Jingu Shrine

Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) was the 122nd Emperor of Japan and was the great-grandfather of the current Emporer. Meiji laid the foundations of modern Japan by opening the country to the world and promoting friendship with other countries after Japan’s long isolation.

The shrine is reached by a road through a Camphor tree forest which was planted 100 years ago when the shrine was built.

You wash your hands for purification before you walk through the Tori gate.

The details of the wood construction of the shrine are amazing. It is built from clear heart Japanese Redwood with impeccable craftsmanship.

We were there at the same time of a wedding ceremony. Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine and is a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Shintoism was the state religion until 1945 when Japan was defeated in WWII and the emperor came out and admitted that he was not a god. Still, more than 80% of Japanese people claim to be Shinto with a belief that everything is possessed by spirits from trees and rocks to rivers and mountains. In spite of Christian churches sending in missionaries for over 100 years less than 1% of Japanese are Christians.

While we were there hundreds of Japanese students came to the shrine to listen to a speech of encouragement by the Shinto priest. Before 1945 the government supported the Shinto priests and shrines but now there is a separation between the state and religions. The Shinto priests and shrines are supported by donations. All the Japanese students wear uniforms and as you can see are very obedient and compliant.

Wood placards are sold for 500 yen ($5) and placed around the huge Camphor tree.

Taxi drivers drive their cars in here for a blessing from the priests for a donation.

This is how they clean the streets and walks.

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