The Meiji Jingu Shrine (明治神宮), found in the heart of the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan is the Shinto Shrine dedicate to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Their souls, as emperor and empress of Japan are believed to be sacred and are thus enshrined in the Meiji Shrine as a deification of their spirit.
In 1912, Emperor Meiji passed away and the Japanese Diet passed a resolution that commemorated Meiji’s role in restoring the role of Emperor in Japanese government. The site was chosen because of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken’s fondness for visiting there. Empress Shoken died in 1914 and the construction of the shrine commenced the next year in 1915.
Built in the traditional Nagarezukuri style and utilizing almost entirely Japanese copper and cypress, the shrine was completed in 1921, though dedication occurred the year before in 1920. The grounds surrounding the shrine were completed as well five years later in 1926. The original building that was built in those years was ultimately destroyed by World War II air raid, but was rebuilt as a public works project in 1958.
The Shrine is located in the midst of a 175 acre forest with as many as 120,000 trees of 365 species. The trees were donated by people from throughout Japan. The forest is considered a national landmark and the shrine itself a monument of sorts as well as a center for major national events. Two separate parts make up the shrine, including:
The inner part of the shrine includes a museum of various treasures from the Emperor and Empress’s home and is built in the Azekurazukuri style.
The outer part of the shrine includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery with 80 murals of the various parts of the Emperor’s life as well as his wife’s. Additionally, a stadium, sports facility, and Meiji Memorial Hall are housed here, where the Meiji Constitution was drafted at the end of the 19th century. Today major gatherings, sporting events and ceremonies are often held in the facilities here.