On our last day, we decided to escape the concrete and enjoy Meiji-jingu where over 100,000 trees occupy 175 forested acres even though it is more well know for enshrining the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shokan.

The original shrine was destroyed in WW2 bombings but the reconstruction is as authentic as they could make it.

For example, this HUGE tori at the shrine's entrance was made from cypress imported from Alishan in Taiwan just as the original was.


These sake barrels, gifts from visiting dignitaries, line the pathway just beyond the tori gates.



This is the entrance to the main worship hall of Meiji-jingu.



We saw Shinto priests meticulously and precisely hanging zigzag paper strips known as "gohei" in this structure.

hall entrance

This is the main entrance to the hall.

In the covered wings to the right of the entrance (to the left in the picture because the shot was taken from inside the hall grounds) we were surprised (and in my case, delighted) to see a collection of bonsai being displayed.


This is a picture of one of my favorite bonsai.

Click on this link or on the picture to view some more bonsai.

wishing tree

This tree was surrounded by ema - little wooden tablets on which visitors write good wishes for family, fortune, and life.

They hang these ema on a structure provided for that purpose in the hopes that their wishes will come true.

We saw these at every shrine we visited while we were here. This tree had the largest accumulation of ema we had seen though.


An example of one of the more humorous wishes I had seen written on an ema.



This is another feature of the Shinto religion known as a "shimenawa". It is a straw rope with gohei hung on it marking the boundary to something sacred.

When tied between two natural objects such as trees, it indicates the presence of kami inhabiting those objects.


The shrine also contains the national treasure museum.

We satisfied ourselves with walking around the grounds and taking pictures of the striking vistas including this picture of the museum housing the treasures and the Tokyo skyline.