Meiji Jingu has eight torii gates. A torii symbolizes the place where the gods come down from above, and is the line separating our world from theirs. It is good manners to quietly calm your breathing and bow briefly before going through the torii. Once you have passed through the torii you are on sacred ground, and your worship has begun.
The Meiji Jingu Forests
Work on the Meiji Jingu Forest began in 1915, with a grand plan to create an “Eternal Forest”. Messages came from across the country and overseas that people wished to donate trees, and in total approximately 100,000 trees of more than 350 different species were donated and planted with the volunteer aid of 110,000 youths. And so a forest was born in the heart of Yoyogi.
The Meiji Jingu Museum
The Meiji Jingu Museum opened in October 2019 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the shrine. It was designed by renowned architect Kuma Kengo, as a new addition to the Meiji Jingu forest.
The wooden tea ceremony house Kakuuntei was built for Empress Shoken according to Emperor Meiji’s wishes. The original building was destroyed by fire during WW2, and reconstructed in 1958.
The Second Torii, the largest in Japan
The Second Torii, which stands where the South Approach and North Approach meet, is the largest wooden torii gate in Japan. The posts were made from a giant tree more than 1500 years old, have a diameter of 1.2 meters, stand 12 meters tall, and weigh 13 tons.
The Meotogusu on the left side before you enter the Main Shrine is famous as a power spot. Two camphor trees, planted in 1920 when the shrine was being built, are connected with a sacred rope. This is a place of prayer for those looking for a companion, and for lovers and married couples wishing to strengthen their relationships.
Once you have passed through the third torii, and the Minami Jinmon Gate, you enter the Main Shrine, with the Honden where the gods are enshrined, the Haiden (inner and outer) for offering prayers, covered galleries and more.