Tour report on Autumn Grand Festival, Culture Day and Meiji Emperor’s birthday, 3 November 2019
- Meiji Shrine and Harajuku
Many thanks to 6 guests participating in the tour to Meiji Jingu shrine and Harajuku town on this day. Our guests came from Switzerland, Singapore and Australia. We divided into 3 groups. The weather was mild but partly cloudy. That day was a national holiday, called Culture Day since 1946 as a proclamation day of current Japan’s constitution. The current constitution ensures that all people have basic needs in life and enjoy healthy and cultural life, so culture is a key element in Japan’s modern life.
But that day had been a national holiday even before 1946, as Meiji Emperor’s birthday. Meiji Jingu Shrine is where Meiji Emperor who reigned over Japan between 1868 and 1912, is enshrined as a god. At the Meiji Jingu Shrine, there held an annual event, called Autumn Grand Festival to worship the late Emperor.
Imperial messengers came and showed procession wearing old time costume that attracted many tourists. Then visitors could enjoy exhibition of chrysanthemums, Ikebana (traditional flower arrangement), Japanese drum and flute performance, and etc. This suits the purpose of Culture Day, on which Meiji Emperor placed importance.
Meiji Emperor not only respects tradition but also foreign cultures to modernize Japan. That aspect has been succeeded in today’s life. Good example was Halloween on 31 October. In Shibuya town, many costume players gathered to show off themselves in flashy and funny costumes. Halloween in Japan is interpreted as a costume playing festival. The streets were packed with such costume players so the town closed streets from automobiles but instead allowed walkers on the roads, making the whole town a glittering party place.
Tokyo is the place where you can enjoy various cultures. Please come and join us.