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Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine
Official Meiji Jingu Website
|This shrine is dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken (their tombs are in Kyoto).
In Shinto, some divinity is found as Kami (divine spirit), or it may be said that there is an unlimited number of Kami. You can see Kami in mythology, in nature, and in human beings. From ancient times, Japanese people have felt awe and gratitude towards such Kami and dedicated shrines to many of them.
Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914. After their demise, people wished to commemorate their virtues and to venerate them forever. So they donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and from overseas, and they worked voluntarily to create this forest. Thus, thanks to the sincere heart of the people, this shrine was established on November 1, 1920.
Note 3 decorations on the middle horizontal - detail in next illustration below:
Detail - Torii: Chrysanthemum
Under the Meiji (1868 -1912) Constitution, no one was permitted to use the Imperial Seal except the Emperor of Japan. A central disc is surrounded by a front set of 16 petals. A rear set of 16 petals are half staggered in relation to the front set and are visible at the edges of the flower.
Seven details below:
Temizuya: a Shinto water ablution pavilion for a ceremonial purification rite
"Water-filled basins, called chōzubachi [or Temizuya], are used by worshipers for washing their left hands, right hands, mouth and finally the handle of the water ladle to purify themselves before approaching the main Shinto shrine or shaden. Wooden dippers are usually available to worshipers." - Wikipedia (online March 2014)
Mon: gate ... Three details below:
Mon - #1 of three details ... Double row of rafters painted white at ends ... Tokyō: A system of supporting blocks and brackets supporting the eaves
Mon - #2 of three details: Tokyō: A system of supporting blocks and brackets supporting the eaves
Mon - #3 of three details: Chrysanthemum
Examples of pruned trees ... Ema: wooden tablets onto which wishes may be written ...
Ema: Wooden wishing plaques.
The main shrine building.
In 1945, the original shrine buildings were burnt down in the air raids of the war. The present shrine buildings date from November 1958.
Two details below:
Main shrine building - #1 of two details.
Onigawara ..... Chrysanthemum
Onigawara are decorative roof tiles typically placed at the ends of the main ridge on temple structures, shrines, and residences. As an ornamental architectural element, Onigawara (literally “goblin tile”) came to prominence in Japan’s Kamakura period (1185 -1332), but the term is also used for decorative roof tiles in the shape of flowers or animals that were already used in the earlier Nara (710 - 794) and Heian (794-1185) periods to prevent leaks and general weathering. In most cases, these elements serve decorative, functional, and protective roles in preventing weathering and in warding off evil spirits, fire, etc.
Main shrine building - #2 of two details.
Tokyō: A system of supporting blocks and brackets supporting the eaves
Employee removing leaves and smoothing out the gravel path
Meiji Jingu's forest was created in honour of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, for their souls to dwell in and with every tree sincerely planted by hand. This forest was carefully planned as an eternal forest that recreates itself. Now after about 90 years it cannot be distinguished from a natural forest, inhabited by many endangered plants and animals. - Official Meiji Jingu Website