Things To Do In Japan With Kids: Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine

3 May

If you are going to be in Tokyo, be sure to visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine! It is a spacious, peaceful park in the middle of the city with lots of trees. My children enjoyed being able to run free without worrying about bumping into other people. I enjoyed the Japanese atmosphere and many photo ops.

My little one enjoyed taking pictures too, with her new birthday gift:

I wish I would have read THIS page on the Meiji Jingu website about shrine etiquette before visiting. I’m afraid we weren’t very respectful as a result of not being informed. If you are planning to visit any shrines in Japan, be sure to study up on proper etiquette first!

{Next time we go to Japan, I would love to hire a professional photographer to take family pictures for us.}

To end our visit, we treated ourselves to vanilla, sakura (cherry blossom), and tofu-flavored ice cream (the store is located right by the entrance). The tofu flavored one was interesting… a bit weird at first, but then it gets better :).

The Meiji Jingu Shrine is super close to Harajuku, and also close to Shibuya and Omotesando. I’d say 1~2 hours is a good length of time to check the place out.

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11 Responses to “Things To Do In Japan With Kids: Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine”

  1. Angie May 3, 2012 at 11:27 PM #

    ohhh my, your babies are adorable! I hope to make it to Japan, one day =D

  2. Asianmommy May 4, 2012 at 8:07 AM #

    What beautiful pictures!

  3. AdelaideBen (@Adelaide_Ben) May 7, 2012 at 9:23 PM #

    Tofu flavoured ice-cream… miss. Sakura flavoured however is delish.

    It’s always tricky knowing etiquette in Japan… and tricks to look out for also include when to take shoes off when visiting shrines/temples. As for the taking of photos, I know Meiji Jingu is reasonably strict (from personal experience), which is fair enough. What I don’t like is when you go to a shrine and they say, if you want to take a photo you need to make a voluntary ‘offering’ to the God(s). Now I’m all for respecting people’s sacred areas by not photographing, but to me, it’s either sacred or not… Although I understand places need money for upkeep, I also know how filthily wealthy most of these sects can be [he says, getting off soap box, and putting shoes back on]. I would put Meiji Jingu in the camp of the reasonably sacred areas well worth respecting.

    Meiji Jingu definitely is worth visiting in Tokyo, and just a hop-skip-jump away from Harajuku! If you go there on the weekend, you’re also bound to see a traditional Japanese wedding taking place, which is always great to watch.

    • Hiragana Mama May 8, 2012 at 7:13 AM #

      I didn’t realize they were “filthy rich”? I wonder where their money goes?

      • AdelaideBen (@Adelaide_Ben) May 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM #

        My wife’s family knew people associated with one of the temples in Sapporo… they were apparently VERY wealthy, though of course, the wealth was slightly hidden. Religion in Japan is Big Business. That’s not to say that they aren’t also benevolent and all that… just that there’s a lot of money being sunk into them. Has to go somewhere.

  4. AdelaideBen (@Adelaide_Ben) May 7, 2012 at 9:25 PM #

    PS – a lot of people miss the ‘rinsing mouth’ step now due to health concerns… don’t feel too obligated, as many Japanese don’t do this either.

    • Hiragana Mama May 8, 2012 at 7:12 AM #

      That part has always bothered me too, and I don’t do it.

  5. Sugel May 14, 2012 at 1:58 AM #

    THe shrine itself is fairly impressive, but the whole area is worth a visit. From nearby Harajuku station, a weekend mecca for young (and weird) Tokyoites, the shrine is a 10 minute walk. Fanning out from here towards Omotesando are a large variety of shops and restaurants. The oreiental bazaar is THE best shop in Tokyo to grab a souvenir. In the opposite direction walking towards Yoyogi park and then on past NHK to Shibuya is a great walk, particularly on Sundays when many bands play on the pavement.

    • Hiragana Mama May 14, 2012 at 7:31 AM #

      Yes! We checked out all of those places except for the oriental bazaar. Wish we could have spent a week there.

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