Though it only dates back to the early 20th century, the Meiji Shrine has become one of the most popular sightseeing destinations in the Japanese capital. It sits in 72-acre forest on the edge of the Yamanote train line, near some of Tokyo’s busiest and most modern neighborhoods.
The shrine houses the spirit of Emperor Meiji, the monarch who regained leadership of Japan after the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate and whose policies were instrumental in modernizing a nation that had been essentially closed off to the world for over two centuries.
Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912, followed in 1914 by his wife, the Empress Shoken. Upon their deaths, the grieving populace of Japan donated 100,000 trees from around the country, leading to the creation of the shrine’s current wooded precincts. A shrine itself was completed by 1920, and has housed the souls of the couple ever since.
Meiji Shrine is a popular spot for traditional Shinto weddings and it’s not uncommon to see multiple wedding parties dressed in kimono parading through the grounds or posing for professional photographs. The shrine is also a good spot for those looking to try omikuji (fortunes) or pick up an omamori, an amulet that protects of provides luck for certain circumstances.
In June, inner garden of Meiji Jingu becomes a must-see spot for blooming irises, as over 1500 purple flowers spring up in the garden’s back corner. The garden itself was created by the Emperor for his wife, so the Empress might find herself refreshed by the beauty of the natural setting. (While the main precincts of the shrine are free, the garden has a separate entrance fee of ¥500.)
Meiji Jingu holds a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. The shrine is one of the most popular locations for Tokyo residents to carry out the hatsumode tradition, the first shrine visit of the year. Various ceremonies commemorating the Emperor and Empress are held throughout the year. In spring and again in autumn, the shrine holds a seasonal festival, with events such as yabusame (archery on horseback), poetry readings and kagura performances. Meiji Jingu also welcomes large numbers of families in November, as they celebrate the Shichigosan (7-5-3) festival.
They are called ema and they are small wooden tablets used by worshippers to write down their prayers or wishes. The tablets are left in a designated area at the shrine, a traditional way of sending their prayers to the gods. Have you made your wish already?
Located right next to the vast Shinjuku Central Park, THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku is a modern boutique hotel with convenient access to nearby Shinjuku Station and Meiji Shrine. The 14-floor hotel building was revamped and reopened as THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku in August 2018. With more than 400 rooms and 7 room types, the hotel’s Western-style rooms offer top floor park views as well as a newly opened Terrace Suite. From the hotel, it is a 4-minute walk to the nearest station and a 14-minute walk to JR Shinjuku Station. The hotel’s motto was built around its location, centered around the diverse Shinjuku area where people of all backgrounds and lifestyles gather. Hence, THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku aims to be the “People’s Park” and “A Place to Gather”. Despite its proximity to Shinjuku city, the hotel offers a place for visitors to escape the hectic city atmosphere by relaxing in the tranquil Shinjuku Central Park. The large urban green space offers respite for tired travelers looking to unwind. In the park, you can also find the Shinjuku Juniso Kumano Shrine, a multi-purpose athletic park, and a small art gallery. THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku is within walking distance to Meiji Shrine (1.8km), Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (2km), the Golden Gai (2.1km), and Kabukicho (2.1km). The area’s diverse offerings allow guests to enjoy a balance of nightlife and serenity — shopping at Shinjuku, bar hopping at the Golden Gai or visiting the serene Meiji Shrine grounds. The in-house dining options include a Spanish Tapas Lounge, Bakery and Tea Stand, and Italian Grill/BBQ Restaurant. Free-wifi and English language support are provided, as well as Tokyobike rentals upon request.
NOHGA HOTEL AKIHABARA TOKYO is conveniently located in the midst of electric town Akihabara, also known as the capital of manga and anime. In addition, this neighborhood has an abundance of tech shops, maid cafes and a variety of restaurants. With just a 6 minute walk away from Akihabara station, it provides easy access to explore other areas nearby such as Ueno and Asakusa. This hotel embodies the rich cultures of music, art and food. Nohga’s concept of music is derived from Akihabara’s local history, starting as a district of radio and wireless component merchants in the late 1920s. The artistic and luxurious space throughout the hotel is achieved by featuring art and amenities designed in collaboration with craftsmen from around Japan. As for the food menu, it’s seasonal fresh ingredients are sourced domestically. The glasses and dinnerware served are collaborations with stores in the surrounding area. All 120 non-smoking guest rooms feature an ensuite bathroom with a rain shower, in-room safety box, mini fridge, USB plugs, free Wi-Fi, a high-quality bluetooth speaker and flatscreen TV with original music and film. The lounge area and a compact 24-hour gym can be found near the reception on the second floor. Services include laundry (from 2,750JPY) and a 24-hour front desk with a check in time of 3PM and check-out time at 11AM For sightseeing you can rent a Tokyobike for the day (2,000 JPY/day) to explore the vicinity.
Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort is part of the Hankyu-Hanshin luxury hotels group. Since 1938, this luxury hotel has been opening its doors to guests who seek a comfortable stay with convenient access to central Tokyo.
Located right outside Meguro Station, this is a restaurant where you can eat the fish you catch yourself in one of the two tanks. Serves all kinds of Japanese food as well as fresh seafood dishes. You can see the fish being prepared in the glass-walled kitchen.
The highball is a popular drink for both men and women. The diverse selection of highballs at this specialized bar will make your night magical.
This ramen restaurant was founded in 1985 in Hakata, the birthplace of ramen. Its taste has won a following among foreigners and it has expanded abroad. Shiromaru Classic and Akamaru Modern have been popular since they were first launched in 1996.
As one of Tokyo’s largest – free – green spaces, Yoyogi Park is a magnet for Tokyoites seeking sun, space and a chance to enjoy one of the numerous festivals held on the park grounds throughout the year. Yoyogi Park was originally used by the Japanese military in the early 1900s. The first powered aircraft flight in Japan took place here in 1910, and the years leading up to World War II saw an increase in military parades and nationalist demonstrations. After World War II, the occupying American forces repurposed Yoyogi Park as a housing compound for military families, renaming the site Washington Heights. A number of shops on Omote-sando cropped up to cater to the new residents. As the 1964 Olympics approached, the military moved out and the residences were used as part of the Olympic Village during the summer games. Today, only one of the old housing units remains, a testament to the history of the park. The rest of the area has been returned to nature, with sprawling lawns and shady groves. Bike and jogging paths cut through the park, and a small training bike path for kids occupies a quiet back corner. For many Tokyo residents, Yoyogi Park offers the opportunity to pursue loud hobbies or group activities that are near impossible in the crowded conditions of most Tokyo residences. Musical instrument practice, dance parties, large yoga sessions, juggling … all are common sites in Yoyogi Park. Yoyogi is also a great place for joggers, rollerbladers and bikers, with well graded trails that crisscross the park grounds. Along with the space for personal pursuits, Yoyogi Park often attracts performers who are more than happy to showcase their talents to passersby. Perhaps the most well-known group is the Rockabillies, dancers with a love of both 1950s style music and fashion styles. They often draw enthusiastic onlookers for their Sunday performances, which take place just outside the park’s main entrance. Yoyogi Park is the frequent host of many food and music festivals. From the summertime Yosakoi dance festival to events promoting vegan and vegetarian food to celebrations of Tokyo’s international communities, rarely a weekend passes without some fun and food-filled festival. A visit to Yoyogi Park pairs perfectly with nearby Meiji Shrine, one of Tokyo’s most notable religious sites. Pay respects to the Emperor that brought Japan into the modern age and then kick back with the locals on a relaxing Sunday afternoon in the park.
With easy access from Harajuku Station, ‘With Harajuku’ is the premier shopping and residency space for the glamourous fashion Mecca. At With Harajuku, residents can be an active part of the quickly changing trends of Tokyo. In addition to the living area, visitors to the area can take advantage of With Harajuku’s great shopping and dining offerings, including a new Ikea.
Toyku Plaza is a multi-story department store in the Omotesando/Harajuku area of central Tokyo. Opened in 2012 and designed by architect Hiroshi Nakamura, this shopping complex is known for its eye-catching entranceway. The escalators here transport shoppers through a kaleidoscope of mirrors making for a popular photo opportunity over the busy Omotesando streets outside. Up on the rooftop, a Starbucks sits alongside the Omohara Forest – a wood deck terrace / rooftop garden that provides ample seating to help coffee lovers relax in style.