Meiji Shrine and Harajuku


Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

Thank you for joining our tour at Meiji Shrine and Harajuku on March 18. We had 22 guests  from America, Canada, Italy, Sweden, India and Malaysia. I hope all of you enjoyed our walking tour  in lovely Spring weather.

Grou D111Group A1Group B1Team C11

Meiji Shrine is known for the most popular shrine with over three million visitors during the new year days. The shrine is dedicated to the souls of Emperior Meiji and Empress Shoken.

The Shrine has unique omikuji. Omikuji is ramdomly drawn fortune-telling papers. However, Meiji shrine’s omikuji is different and particular. While other places provide with predictions ranging from the best luck to the worst luck, people here draw a poem composed by Emperior Meiji and Empress Shoken. Omikuji does not say anything good or bad and has waka in stead. Waka is the traditional Japanese poems of 31 syllables in the pattern 5-7-5-7-7. The Emperior and Empress are the experts of waka and left many poems to later generations. There are about 100,000 made by the Emperior and about 30,000 by the Empress.
Although omikuji has over a millenium of history, Meiji Shrine had no omikuji until WWⅡ partly because it was a state owned entity but after the war the Shrine became independent and made an particular and impressive type. Considering the enshrined deities of the Emperior and Empress as well as their favorite waka, the Shrine decided to form their waka poems as omikuji.
Many of these Imperial poems express the ethical lessons teaching you not to do something as a warning or how to live a moral life. Actually the omikuji has a good reputation because the warning is accurate.

The English version is available. Visitors can draw a poem from the 20 selected poems(translation and explanation) at the shrine office. Omikuji paper is made of the traditional Japanese paper ‘washi’ with the Imperial chrysanthemum pattern having pleasant appearances. As there is no tree or stand to tie omikuji as seen elsewhere, it is recommendable for visitors to bring one home. 100 yen for apiece.
Omikuji at Meiji Shrine may have the power to change your life.

(posted by Yoshi)