Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Forest in the Midst of the City

After Sty and I parted in Shibuya, I went to Harajuku to visit Meijijingu (Meiji Shrine).

It's a Shinto Shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken. Located right beside the Harajuku JR Station, indeed, Meijijingu, a shrine in a man-made forest provides contrast to the very modern Harajuku.

During History class in high school, I can barely keep myself attentive. Plus, my low grades are always in History. I tell you, I'm really bad at memorizing things. However, I had this certain appreciation for Japanese History (the shogunate and then the Meiji era) and Japanese culture as well. That's why I was very excited to see the Meijijingu.

Just seeing the torii (shrine gate) at the entrance made my heart flutter. In my mind, "I still can't believe I'm in Japan right now."

It was a long walk to the shrine (well, not really if you're from UP) and then I saw the temizuya:

Every visitor, without discrimination for religion, is expected to rinse their hands and mouth here. And I did so even though my hands were freezing (the water was freezing too). Afterall, I'm just an "intruder". It wouldn't hurt to respect other people's "territory". Unfortunately, I was traveling alone so I have no photos of myself at the temizuya.

And then the main shrine. It was simple but very beautiful.

Not much visitors because of the rain. But during New Year, this place gets really crowded!

I also paid respects since they expect every visitor to do so. Again, without discrimination for religion. Bow twice. Clap twice. Bow once.

sacred tree

ema boards where people write their prayers

I also saw shrine maidens! I'd usually see cosplayers in the Philippines dressed up as shrine maidens. But here, I finally saw real shrine maidens.

shrine maiden selling omikuji and souvenir

I was able to buy a few souvenirs from the shop near the exit: a cellphone swing for my collection (JPY370) and a porcelain magnet (JPY400) for my mom's collection.

Did I ever mention that I love sakura a lot (even though I haven't seen one bloom yet)? 

I had to hurry up in getting out since the shrine was already closing. And while exiting, I took this photo...

...and then I realized "HEY!! This is the bridge where cosplayers hang out during Sundays!! This is the place I see on the internet!" You know that moment where you suddenly start imagining objects (in my case, people) on an empty space? That's it! It was just weird because I didn't realize it while entering the shrine.

And then I went to Takeshita Dori to go window shopping. Unfortunately, I was starting to feel really bad. To be honest, that day was the most difficult day for me because the rain never stopped the whole day and my hands and feet were TOTALLY freezing (despite my gloves, boots and two pairs of socks). Rainwater entered the stitches of my boots so my feet were practically drenched the whole afternoon until night. I also forgot to bring my hat so the cold made my head hurt so much.

And so I decided to go back to the hotel no matter how much I wanted to wander around. I'm just thankful that I was able to ride the trains back to the hotel without fainting and that I didn't get sick.

It was unfortunate that the rain and the cold made my adventure less enjoyable. I wasn't able to read the exhibits in Meijijingu anymore. But in any case, it was still a great experience. I hope that I'll be able to go back to Japan. And if I do, I'll make sure to go back to Meijijingu on a sunny day and with companions (to take photos with)!

1 comment:

  1. Jealous is me.

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