Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meiji-jingu Shrine

On Sunday, I went to Harajuku with Shiggy and Yui to visit the Meiji-Jingu Shrine. The Meiji-Jingu Shrine is a Shinto shrine and was built in honour of the Emporer Meiji and Empress Shoken and was completed in 1920. During WWII, it was completely destroyed and then rebuilt with all of the original features using Japanese cypress wood.

Before you enter the temple itself you go through three huge gates(torii). Just before you enter the temple you have the chance to wash your hands, which purifies you soul. I did this but I'm not sure if it had much effect. Maybe I'll use a bucket next time.

Around this time of year, parents take their children of three(girls), five(boys) and seven(girls) to shrines and they wear wear traditional mini-komono in order to celebrate their growth, in a festival called Shici-go-san-no-hi. Parents give thanks for their well-being and pray for continued freedom from accidents and illness. Children are also given long sweets called Chitoseame (thousand-year candy).

Upon entering the temple I saw some traditional dancing and I was also fortunate enough to witness a traditional wedding ceremony, which I have been told is very rare nowadays. For good luck you can also throw coins into a wooden grate. After this you clap three times and then you pray.

You can check out all the pictures