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Meiji Shrine

Coordinates: 35°40′34″N 139°41′57″E / 35.67611°N 139.69917°E / 35.67611; 139.69917
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Meiji Shrine
Meiji Jingu Shrine Main Hall in 2023
DeityEmperor Meiji
Empress Shoken
TypeImperial Shrine
Location1-1, Kamizono-chō, Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0053
Meiji Shrine is located in Japan
Meiji Shrine
Shown within Japan
Geographic coordinates35°40′34″N 139°41′57″E / 35.67611°N 139.69917°E / 35.67611; 139.69917
Date establishedNovember 1, 1920
Glossary of Shinto

Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) is a Shinto shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo, that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.[1][2] The shrine does not contain the emperor's grave, which is located at Fushimi-momoyama, south of Kyoto.


Meiji under construction in 1920
Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, aerial view of Meiji Jingu, c. 1926.

After the emperor's death in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. An iris garden in an area of Tokyo where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken had been known to visit was chosen as the building's location. Construction began in 1915 under Itō Chūta, and the shrine was built in the traditional nagare-zukuri style, using primarily Japanese cypress and copper. The building of the shrine was a national project, mobilizing youth groups and other civic associations from throughout Japan, who contributed labor and funding.[3] The main timbers came from Kiso in Nagano, and Alishan in Taiwan, then a Japanese territory, with materials being utilized from every Japanese prefecture, including Karafuto, Korea, Kwantung, and Taiwan. It was estimated that the cost of the construction was ¥5,219,00 in 1920 (approximately US$26 million today), about a quarter of the actual cost due to the donated materials and labor.[4]

It was formally dedicated on November 3, 1920, completed in 1921, and its grounds officially finished by 1926. The interior volume of the shrine complex when originally built was 650 tsubo.[4][5] Until 1946, the Meiji Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the first rank of government-supported shrines.[6]

The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II. The present iteration of the shrine was funded through a public fund raising effort and completed in October 1958.[7]

Meiji Shrine has been visited by numerous foreign politicians, including United States President George W. Bush, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.[8]

Shrine complex

An aerial photograph of Meiji Shrine Naien and Yoyogi Park (1989)
An aerial photograph of Meiji Shrine Gaien (1989)

Meiji Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 70 hectares (170 acres). This area is covered by an evergreen forest that consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. The forest is visited by many as a recreation and relaxation area in the center of Tokyo.[2] The entrance to the shrine complex leads through the Jingu Bashi bridge. Meiji Shrine is adjacent to Yoyogi Park which together is a large forested area. The entrances open at sunrise and close at sunset.

The shrine itself is composed of two major areas:



The Naien is the inner precinct, which is centered on the shrine buildings and includes a treasure museum that houses articles of the Emperor and Empress. The treasure museum is built in the Azekurazukuri style.



The Gaien is the outer precinct, which includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery that houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrative of the events in the lives of the Emperor and his consort. It also includes a variety of sports facilities, including the national stadiums (Meiji Jingu Gaien Stadium, National Stadium, and the newer National Stadium), and the Meiji Memorial Hall (Meiji Kinenkan), which was originally used for governmental meetings, including discussions surrounding the drafting of the Meiji Constitution in the late 19th century. Today it is used for Shinto weddings as well as meeting rooms rent and restaurants services.

In February of 2023, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government approved a plan to develop 28.4 hectares of Meiji Jingu Gaien. A new sports stadium, hotel and three skyscrapers are planned for the site. In September 2023, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a UNESCO advisory body, warned of 'irreversible destruction of cultural heritage' if the project, which will result in the loss of 3,000 trees and open park space, is allowed to be completed.[9]



Several festivals are held at the shrine per year.[10] Some festivals are held annually. The exhibitions range from ice carving, shodoten (calligraphy winners's works), bonsai, Suiseki Masterpieces, Memory Dolls, Chrysanthemums, Dahlia and exhibitions at the Treasure Museum Annex.[10]

  • A ring-entering ceremony by a Yokozuna, called Dezuiri (手数入り), is performed at the shrine in January (usually around January 5–7) and during the Autumn Festival. Also newly promoted Yokozuna usually perform their first ring-entering ceremony here.[11]
  • Autumn Grand Festival (From October 31 to November 3)[10]
    • October 31 - Autumn Grand Festival Bugaku at the main shrine building
    • November 1 - Autumn Grand Festival: Enshrinement Anniversary Ceremony, Afternoon Ceremony
    • November 2 - Autumn Grand Festival Morning Ceremony
    • November 3 - Autumn Grand Festival Anniversary of Emperor Meiji's Birthday
Festival[10] Description Date
Oharae Great purification (to cast out sins and impurities) December 31, 2020 (Thursday)
Joyasai Year-end ritual December 31, 2020 (Thursday)
Saitaisai New Year's Day ritual January 1, 2021 (Friday, National Holiday)
Shodoten Exhibition of winners' works in the calligraphy competition for elementary and junior high school students from January 5, 2021 (Tuesday) to January 30, 2021 (Saturday)
Kigensai National Foundation Day Festival February 11, 2021 (Thursday, National Holiday)
Kinen-sai Prayer Ceremony for Agricultural Fertility February 17, 2021 (Wednesday)
Tenchosai Celebration of the current Emperor's birthday February 23, 2021 (Tuesday, National Holiday)
Shoken-Kotaigo-Sai Empress Shoken Memorial Ceremony (to remember the virtues of Empress Shoken) April 11, 2021 (Sunday)

See also



  1. ^ "Meiji Shrine". Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  2. ^ a b "Introduction". Meiji Jingu. Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  3. ^ Hardacre, Helen (2013). "Meiji Shrine". In Huffman, James L. (ed.). Modern Japan: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism. Routledge. p. 151. ISBN 9781135634902. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Rea, G.B. (December 1920). "The Great Meiji Shrine". Far Eastern Review. XVI (12): 649.
  5. ^ "Meiji Shrine". Encarta. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  6. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 126.
  7. ^ "Shrine Building". Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  8. ^ "Germany and Japan share the same values". Federal Foreign Office, Germany. 14 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-02-07.
  9. ^ Emiko Jozuka, Francesca Annio, Saki Toi and Daniel Campisi (October 3, 2023). "'Like building skyscrapers in Central Park': Tokyo redevelopment plan sparks protests". CNN.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ a b c d "Tokyo Sightseeing Area". Try Japan. October 25, 2020. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020.
  11. ^ [1], Retrieved 2021-02-15.>