Japan Trip : Inspiring story of Meiji Jingu
It’s often that we heard about Japanese culture and how they have strong culture as developed country while they also adapted lot of western cultures & technologies for their country.
On the early September this year, i went to Japan and visited one of their sacred place, Meiji Jingu / Meiji Shrine. It’s located near Shibuya and Harajuku, well it’s actually located in Harajuku but i walked from Shibuya around 1km so its actually pretty close from both sides.
Meiji Jingu is a shrine that’s built and dedicated to deified the spirit of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Nowadays, people come to this place for pray, others come to see some Japanese history and culture, and there also wedding ceremony in this place.
Here’s the look from entrance :
Even though this shrine is located in the city but once you’re there, the atmosphere feels so different and it’s like you’re enter a hidden place somewhere in the forest. It’s quite, it’s peaceful and i think it’s a good place to take a walk if you’re looking for a tranquil place. In the front gate you can see a giant gate framed the entrance, it’s pretty amazing how they built this giant gate as a proof of their dedication to emperor and empress.
If you walk couple meters from the gate, on the right side, there are stack of sake barrels (left picture). This barrels are given by the sake brewers all around japan and offered every year to show respect to the souls of Emperor Meiji & his consort for led the industrial growth and modernization of Japan.
On the left side, there are stack of wine barrels (right picture). On The Meiji Period or the era of “Japanese Spirit and The Western Culture”, The Emperor led the way in promoting modernization by embracing many features of western culture in his personal life, such as shearing his topknot, wearing western attire and also taking western food and wine. He learned and adopted some of the best featured from western culture while keeping Japan’s spirit and revered the tradition. He also wrote a poem about it, and it sounds like this :
By gaining the good and rejecting what is wrong
It is our desire that we’ll compare favourably
With other lands abroad
The story behind those wine barrels was pretty inspiring to me, i saw how society adopted to much of western culture and missed their roots and culture. I also saw a nationalist society and formed collective narcissism, where the people possess self-love of their own people and being sceptical with the modernization and western culture. We missed the balance from both sides and lean too much towards 1 side.
Enough with the sake and wine barrels, i continued to walk into the deeper side of the shrine.
Before you enter the shrine, you might find this wash basin and it used for cleansing ritual. They believe we need be clean before we pray, hands and mouth, and set our mind at ease.
Once you finished the ritual, now you can enter the shrine for pray, buy some souvenirs, or even hang your wishes around the trees. Lets take a look on what’s inside.
Inside of the shrine, you can find this wishing tree full of wooden with written messages from people all over the world. It costs you around 500 yen if you want to be a part and hang your own wishes on the tree. I read some of them and it’s wonderful to see how people express their thoughts and words in prayer.