Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu Shrine

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Things to do


Date of travel

March, 2016

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It was our last morning, not only in Tokyo but in Japan and there was just one more thing to tick off our list: “Yoyogi Park”:https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index039.html#_=_ , one of the largest city parks, and previously the site of the Olympic village in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Now it was noted for the “Meiji Jingu Shrine “:https://www.meijijingu.or.jp/en/

After a 30 minute walk from our hotel we arrived at the entrance and the Otorri or Grand Shrine Gate which was under repair. The shrine gate was like all the others we’d seen but this was the largest of its style in Japan. The two large wooden columns towered at 12m and were 1.2m in diameter with two wooden cross pieces at the top. The trees used to create the columns were 1500 year old Japan cypress trees which we were interested to read, were transported from “Alishan Forest”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/156391-review-alishan-house-hotel in Taiwan (which we’d visited).

A 10-minute walk along a wide gravel track lined with trees led us to a second gate with a sign, another path and eventually a rather unremarkable shrine both in colour and design.

We were just beginning to wonder whether it was all worthwhile when we spotted a Shinto wedding party heading for their photo shoot. First up in the parade were two purple and white clad priests tottering on thick wooden soled sandals followed by two young girls in red and white. The bride and groom were next walking under a huge red paper Japanese style umbrella with Mum supporting the bride in her heavy floral silk kimono and the same thick wooden sandals. The family came after with the men in morning suits whilst the ladies wore either kimonos or smart western style dresses. At the end were around a dozen other guests.

We watched as they spent a significant amount of time staging the photographs and then spotted another parade making its way to the same area. It was just like a conveyor belt.

Before leaving the park with its wide lawns, ponds and forested areas, we headed for the inner garden and paid the suggested donation of ¥500 (£3.30).

There was a tea house (closed), a huge pond with fishing stand and tree lined paths although many of them were still to blossom.

Without realising it we found we were at a different exit and had to back-track but on our way found a big display of sake barrels and French wine barrels on the other side, good for photos. We were there around 75 minutes and although there was meant to be a Treasure Museum we didn’t see it.

Helen Jackson

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