In the heart of concrete jungle Tokyo, it’s hard to find a green belt to breathe and space out in. Nevertheless, there are a few such spaces, one of them is the Meiji Jingu or Meiji Imperial Shrine. (Shrine sacred groves are usually a good bet to find nature and eco-diversity)
The approximately 700,000-square meter Yoyogi Forest, has about 100,000 trees donated by citizens across Japan, (in addition to the expansive Yoyogi park beside it), offering a haven from the incessant noise and crowds of the busy city with its dense foliage.
The shrine, founded in 1921, was dedicated to Emperor Meiji — the first modern emperor after the demise of rule by the samurai class — and his wife, Empress Shoken.
Meiji Jingu Shrine has had the largest number of New Year’s visitors in Japan for 34 consecutive years. And 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of Empress Shoken so before this year ends … is the year to come and visit.
If you get lucky you might spot a traditional wedding procession through the courtyard — the bride in a white kimono and hood and the groom in his formal black robe, walking together under a big red parasol, with Shinto priests trailing behind.
At the southern end of the shrine grounds visitors will come across the Meiji Jingu Treasure House, which displays many of the personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress, including the carriage which the emperor rode to the formal declaration of the Meiji Constitution in 1889. There is also a Museum Annex Building just to the east of the main shrine buildings that displays temporary exhibitions
See this interesting writeup of the Meiji Jingu Iris Garden and more historic tidbits of information.
Meiji Jingu Shrine