Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine

I must admit that I have not really be to any temples in Japan for several years. I first visited Tokyo over four years ago. Back then, I was crazy about seeing all the old temples, shrines and other such sightseeing stuff. Now that I live in Tokyo it is rare for me to visit a temple. I have developed a `been there done that` attitude towards the temples and such in Tokyo. This is a real shame because there are some amazing things to see in Tokyo. With an extreme want to break my some what jaded attitude towards temples in Tokyo I recently made a visit to the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku.

I often hang out in Harajuku but do not give a second thought to the huge shrine in the area. Something so large and breathtaking is worth taking a gander at from time to time. I do find it very odd that a street fashion and youth punk hang out area has evolved around a shrine so large and beautiful. It is just more evidence of the mix of old and new that is the hallmark of modern Tokyo.

The Meiji Jingu shrine is starting to show its years. The shrine is really looking a little run down. The roofs are starting to sag and mold is taking hold on many of the buildings. Lucky for the temple that it is finally getting a much needed face lift. It is about time I say. If there is one shrine in Tokyo that deserves to be preserved it is Meiji Jingu. It is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Meiji himself is one of the most important leaders in Japanese history as it was he who brought Japan into the modern world.

The process of giving the old girl a face lift in under way

In some ways it makes perfect sense that a raging youth underground cultural has developed around the Meiji Jingu shrine. The Meiji period was all about change and taking Japan in a new direction. Meiji changed many things about Japan and redirected the course of the nation forever. Constant change is a big part of Harajuku. Fashion trends come and go with the wind and there is always something new to see and experience in Harajuku.

It was well worth the effort to visit Meiji Jingu. I felt very relaxed there. It was so peaceful and inspiring. The surrounding forest reminded me of my mountain home in West Virginia. It looks just like the gentle lower areas of the West Virginia mountains. I left the shrine feeling refreshed and balanced. I took many photos to share with everyone. I hope you enjoy!