JAPANESE SPIRIT IN DOLL THANKSGIVING ：Meiji Shrine and Harajuku Tour on Oct. 6, 2019
- Meiji Shrine and Harajuku
Thank you for joining our tour to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku on Oct. 6th. We welcomed 30 guests in total from Canada, Israel, USA, Australia, Philippines, Spain, UK, Italy and Germany. We really appreciate that some guests participated following East Gardens of the Imperial Palace the previous day.
We made 4 groups to have mutual communication between guests and guides. It was rainy and a little chilly, 27℃ (81℉). We needed temporary suspending our tour under a roof to avoid strong rains, but all guest was cooperative and patient. We could not operate tours without their warm cooperation and understanding. Thank you very much!
A lot of dolls were displayed in the corridor as we entered the main hall of Meiji Shrine during the rain. This day was the annual Meiji Shrine Doll Thanksgiving Day. There is a custom in Japan that believes that dolls have souls and values them. So many people feel reluctant to just throw away old and broken dolls as garbage. Meiji Jingu shrines holds every autumn this event as a festival of gratitude and farewell for such dolls.
It is believed that Japanese people had animistic spirits in the symbiosis with nature since ancient times. After rice farming introduction, it became to pray for agriculture and ancestors, and Shinto in its current form was formed under the influence of Buddhism. For such Japanese, it is the natural feeling to reveal appreciation for dolls at shrines and temples.
By the way, Meiji Jingu Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. Emperor Meiji was the 122th Emperor, and he gained throne at the age of only 14 in 1867. At that time, Japan was at the end of the Samurai (Japanese warriors) Era and had just stopped its isolation policy for nearly 250 years under the strong pressure of Western countries. In 1868, a new government was established under Emperor Meiji, and in order to build a powerful centralized nation, it moved to Tokyo as new substantial capital and carried out major reforms such as abandoned feudal lords.
Emperor Meiji was the first Emperor seeing Mt. Fuji and visiting Tokyo in October 1868. It is said that he had a strong personal feeling to live in Kyoto, but he obligated himself to live in Tokyo as a new era Emperor. He worked hard to modernize Japan until he passed away in 1912. After his death, he was buried in the Fushimi Momoyama mausoleum in Kyoto.
Soon, a movement to build a shrine in Tokyo started from Tokyo citizens who admired the Emperor. When the plan was approved by the government, more than 110,000 people from all over the country volunteered to work and about 100,000 tress were donated. Its construction was completed in 1920.
Meiji Jingu was not established just because Emperor Meiji was a great leader of modern Japan. It is a testament to whether the people of Japan and Tokyo had the great feeling of respect and love for him. I think it is also a natural Japanese mentality that is somewhere shared with Doll Thanksgiving.
Please enjoy this Meiji Shrine with us when you come to Tokyo.
For more information about our tour, please visit our web site at
or Tokyo Free Walking Tour at https://www.tripadvisor.jp/.
(Posted by Toyo)