Whatever walkways(Southern, Northern and Western) you take, you will see a huge wooden Torii gate to enter the central Shrine area. If you come from Harajuku by walking along Southern Walkway(Approach) , you will see a wooden torii gate and huge wooden gate. Huge Two-Storied Wooden gate behind a torii gate is called Minami Shinmon built in 1921. After purifying your hands with purification trough at the left side of the road, and passing the gates, you will see Prayer Hall(Haiden) in the middle, A pair of camphor laurel trees called Meoto-Kusu(A couple camphor laurel) at the left side and a tree covered with Ema wooden tablets at the right side.
When you walk along the South Walkway, you may see the entrance of the Japanese garden open only in June during Iris season. To enter the garden during off-season, however, you have to cross the huge Torii Gate leading to Main Shrine buildings. Then you will find the entrance and are asked to donate 500 yen for maintenance. Gyoen garden is a lot larger than you imagine, it is the third largest Japanese garden in Tokyo (following Hamarikyu Garden, and Rikugien Garden) by area (83,000 square meters). The garden is famous for its Iris Garden blooming around June. This garden used to be one of the residences for Iyi Family during Edo Period(1603-1868) and when Meiji Shrine was built in 1920 it was the only area filled with woods. This garden's another draw is Kiyomasa's Well. Before Iyi family acquired the place Kiyomasa Kato used to live around there. The well is said to have been dug by Kiyomasa Kato best known by Lord of Kumamoto Castle and one of the building designers for Nagoya castle. This well, being the origin of South Pond, has been popular among people as being a "power spot" a site of feng shui inspired spritual place. The well is located at the far corner of the garden and around there I saw a lot of mushrooms. It is surely the place invogorating. But don't go to the place on weekends, there are hundreds of people waiting in line to take the photo of the well.
Meiji Jingu Shrine is really huge. There are three walkways to get to the Main Shrine Buildings.
1 Minami Sando, (Southern Approach, South Walkway)
Minami Sando, south walkway to the main shrine buildings is by far the most popular walkway. It extends from Sangubashi bridge near JR Harajuku station. There is a huge wooden Torii gate leading to the broad gravel road. This walkway joins with Kita Sando(Northern Approach, North Walkway) in the middle where you can see the huge wooden Torii gate leading to Main Shrine Buildings. Walking long walkway combined with North Walkway spanning about one kilometer long is popular among business people for lunchtime walks.
2 Kita Sando(Northern Approach, North Walkway)
Kita Sando extends from Yoyogi entrance of the Shrine. This walkway is also popular among visitors.
3 Nishi Sando(Western Approach, West Walkway)
This walkway extending from Sangubashi station of Odakyu line is rarely used as an outward route because either Harajuku and Yoyogi stations are a lot more convenient for visitors to start. Unlike North and South Walkways, this route has some great views of lawn grounds.
The park at the former site of Washington Heights during post-war occupation period, is the fourth largest park (54 ha) in 23-ward area of Tokyo Metropolis. Meiji Government acquired the Yoyogi area in 1909 and made it into the military parading ground. The pine tree which witnessed the military parade reviewed by Emperor Mutsuhito(Emperor Meiji) and Emperor Hirohito(Emperor Showa) still remains protected by stakes and ropes within a few meters from the tree. Another major monument is Japan's First Flight Monument commemorating the first flights achieved by Yoshitoshi Tokugawa and Kumazo Hino in December 19, 1910. The park is also home to cyclists, joggers and pet owners.
the champs elysees of Tokyo, luxury shopping galore
Japan's Champs Elysees! if takeshita dori street which lies 200 meters away from Omotesando and is parallel to it is the funky teenage shopping heaven, Omotesando is the Center of Luxe in the Shibuya district (yes, harajuku is part of Shibuya ok!). Omotesando is broad, tree-lined avenue leading downhill from the southern end of the JR Harajuku station. This is the other side to Harajuku Fashion and its challenge to Shibuya and Ginza. Not only is the street full of cafes and international brand clothing boutiques, but now features the very up market Omotesando Hills. If Paris or Milan is the center of the world of fashion design, then Omotesando is the center of world fashion consumption! But don't buy luxury good like hermes of Louis Vuitton here since the prices are 20% more expensive than in other countries due to the large japanese tax on foreign luxury items!
the 500 meter long shopping arcade for japanese kawaii teens. the teeny booper street famous around the world for japanese teenage fashion and the goth subculture unfortunately when I was here was a weekday so I saw no goth characters. In order to experience the teenage culture at its most extreme or the Goths, visit Harajuku on a Sunday, when many young people gather around Harajuku Station and engage in cosplay ("costume play"), dressed up in crazy costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, etc. The focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands (see my Angels' heart and Marion's Crepes restaurant tips) and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens. Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) is a narrow, roughly 450 meter long street lined by shops, boutiques, cafes and fast food outlets targeting Tokyo's teenagers. Takeshita-dori represents the cutting edge of fashion in Tokyo where you can see all the latest in Japanese street fashion and then buy in the boutiques.
Yoyogi Park is one of the most famous parks in Tokyo and is conveniently located next to the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku shopping area. Many locals like to relax at this park and there are a few wonderful fountains here with impressive water display. The rose garden here is also impressive and you should visit this park together with Meiji Shrine and Harajuku shopping area. More photos of Yoyogi Park are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
The Meiji Shrine is a beautiful and historical shrine nestled among tranquil garden landscape at Harajuku. The entrance of the shrine is conveniently located near to the Harajuku sub-way station and admission is free. This is a must visit if you are in Tokyo and more photos are at the travelogue section of the VT page for you to enjoy.
Harajuku is famous for its ultra modern and various exotic kinds of fashion worn mostly by teenagers who come here to socialise, shop and of course to show off their fashion sense. You will be treated with a wide array of fashion at Harajuku and it is not to be missed when you are in Tokyo. More photos are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Meiji Shrine is located in the city of harajuku. Very nice long walk through the trees and pathway.Went on a good day as just missed the national holiday, still many people, but far less than if i had been the day before. Smallish shrine, but beautiful in its own rite.
(last date visited - June 12, 2007)
Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine)
5.40am-5.20pm (spring & autumn)
no entrance fee
Major Attractions: Meiji (Jingu) Shrine, Yoyogi Park, Takeshita Street, Omote Sando Hills, Nezu Museum, Togo Shrine, Cat Street and more...