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Published on 02.26.2016
Famous Features at Meiji Shrine: Sake & Wine Barrels and ”Ōtorii”
“Meiji Shrine” is a shrine that enshrines “Emperor Meiji” and “Empress Shoken” located in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. The shrine is known as the shrine where the largest number of people go to bring in the New Year in Japan. Meiji Shrine is surrounded by forest, and it is a common place for people to enjoy relaxation. The forest is artificial, and made by almost one hundred thousand trees, which were donated from all over the country. The shrine hosts various Sumo related events, such as the Yokozuna Ring entering ceremony, and many celebrities have had their weddings held at Meiji Shrine.
One of the most famous features at Meiji Shrine is the “Sake & Wine Barrels.” When you take the path to the shrine, you eventually run into a Japanese Sake barrels display. These barrels are called “Komodaru,” and are covered with straw to prevent damage during transportation. These two hundred barrels of sake were donated by sake brewers in Japan, and they are a popular place among foreign tourists to take a picture because the barrels have colorful and unique label designs. On the other side of the approach, there is a number of wine barrels on display too. It is said that Emperor Meiji preferred to drink wine rather than sake. These wine barrels have been donated from Bourgogne region in France. Those wine barrels represent a pledge of friendship between Japan and France.
If you keep walking along the path, you will be able to see “Ōtorii,” a large gate marking the entrance to the shrine. It is the biggest wooden torii gate in Japan, standing over twelve meters high and seventeen meters wide. The huge guard frame is made from hinoki cypress wood. The gate had been destroyed once by a stroke of lightning in 1966, but it was since rebuilt with another fifteen hundred years old hinoki cypress tree which was sent from Taiwan.
Meiji Shrine is an sacred oasis in the megalopolis of Tokyo that draws many visitors annually. It is a good place to spend relaxed time in Japan.
Access: 2-minute walk from “Meiji Jingu Mae Station” by Subway Chiyoda Line
2-minute walk from “Harajuku Station” by JR Yamanote Line
Opening hour: 6:00 a.m.〜 5:00 p.m. (Depending on each month)
Address: 1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono chou, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
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