To the uninitiated Tokyo does not typically conjure up images of green spaces and tranquility. Surrounded by a park which used to be an imperial garden Meiji-Jingu is a Shinto shrine built to honor Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Immediately after walking through the main gate the urban frenzy of this sprawling city is left behind.
Even in a torrential downpour Meiji Shrine is a beautiful setting for a wedding. A procession stops all visitors in their tracks as bride, groom family and friends silently file into the main courtyard structure of the shrine for a low key matrimonial ceremony. The women are clad in pastel kimonos and the men in tails.
Hundreds if not thousands of prayer blocks hang with the wishes of people from around the world written on them. Some simply give thanks for good health or fortune.
The shrine is open sunrise to sunset year-round. There is no admission fee. To get there take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station or the Chiyoda Subway Line to Meiji-jingu-mae Station.