Meiji Shrine Tokyo

The official summer of 2015 starts today.  Travelling is probably on many people mind now. I feel like going somewhere too but for now I would just like to take you for a small tour of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Meiji Shrine is the one of the two shrines that I visited Tokyo a while back.

Meiji Shrine is located in Shibuya area which is quite busy place in Tokyo. The Harajuku subway train station is just in front of one of the entrance to the shrine. That is so convenient to get there from the subway.

Meiji Shrine front gate.

This is the main entrance of the shrine. I guess many probably have seen this Japanese style gate of temple before or even this gate in particular. This style of gate is called “Torii”. The Meiji Shrine’s gate is very large and made of wood.

Meiji Shrine long entrance way.

The entire area is in the big dense evergreen forest. The actual temple part is small relative to the entire area. There is a long walk from the entrance gate to get to the main temple.  The path is surrounded with tall green dense trees. I found the long walk along these trees gives you tranquility.

Meiji Shrine's forest

The above is the scenery of the well preserved forest surrounding the temple. The forest was quite dense and moist on that day but I think that accentuated the serenity of the place even further.

Meiji Shrine's irrigation.

I really do like the drainage design along the walkway.  The wide but shallow duct made of rectangular shape stones and the green mosses grow on the high wall is a great design. The man made structure blends in with the surrounding green so well.

Meiji Shrine's lamp post

The above is one of the lamp post. The style just matches with style of the temple there.

Meiji Shrine's sake barrels

These are sake barrels. They are for decoration.  I found this link to give information about the barrels and the shrine – It is quite interesting.

Meiji Shrine's inner gate

There is another inner Torii before entering the temple main ground. It was a welcome sight as the main ground opens up as you walk deeper. I think it gives subtle happiness feeling that you have accomplish some goal.

Meiji Shrine - washing place.

You will find a place to wash your hands before entering temple. This is a Japanese tradition that you can see the setup for washing before entering a temple. The place provides running water and small ladles to scope up water for washing your hands. I had one picture in the Hase-Dera temple post awhile back.

Meiji Shrine's gate door.

This is the wooden door before entering the temple. It made of big thick solid pieces of wood (this one made of 3 big wood panels). The carving looks like a flower. It uses many gentle curves and circles enclosing straight lines in the middle – very eye pleasing.

Meiji Shrine - main temple.

This is the main ground of the temple. There is no picture taken allowed beyond this point.  My memory is so vague now to remember what I saw there beyond this point. I am sorry about this.  I can only just recall peaceful feeling. I guess that is more important than the visual memory of the details.

Meiji Shrine's "Ema" wooden wishing plaques

On the temple ground there is a place setup for hanging wooden wishing plaques (“Ema”).  I wished I could read Japanese language. I would like to read some of these.

Meiji Shrine -  doors.

I exited the main ground through the other door. The door panels here are the same structural style but with different wood carving pattern. The design keeps gentle curves design theme however.  The carving appears to represent leaves. Still, they are gentle, simple and eye pleasing.

Meiji Shrine's resting area.This is the last picture of this post. I  like this view a lot. It just gave me the sense of real peacefulness. The building just stood there and there was no people near or close by at all.

Hope you all have great plan for this Summer.


Hase-Dera Temple (Kamakura)

When I visited Japan a few years back, I had a chance to go to Kamakura. Kamakura is about an hour on a train ride from Tokyo.  Hase-Dera temple is one of the Buddhist temples in Kamakura. The temple sits on the mountain hill surrounded by gardens and especially is  famous place for Hydrangeas.  I was lucky to be there at the time of the year that these lovely flowers are blooming. I have not seen so many Hydrangeas in one place.  There are so many kinds of Hydrangea (I believe over dozen kinds).

The entrance to the Hase-Dera Temple in Kamakura. There were quite a number of visitors on that there.  There were many young children on that day. It could be the off school season at the time as well.

Hase-Dera Kamakura - Front

The Japanese style garden at the ground level of the temple. I felt relax and at peace from the well arranged garden.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Garden

I was lucky to visit the temple when all flowers were in the blooming season.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Flowers

I believe it is a Japanese tradition to wash or clean off oneself before entering a temple.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamkura - People washing

The visitors are walking up from ground level to the temple level.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Visitors walking to temple.

Before reaching the temple level is small intermediate level.  I believe the small statues are placed by parents morning their offsprings lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - second level.

Seeing these small smiling statues make me feel happy.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - 3 Smiling Statues

The day was very silver over casting sky. That helped shielding the heat of the sun quite a bit.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Temple

Visitors paid respect by burning candlesticks in front of the temple. Children and grown-up were so cheerful.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Burning candlesticks

A young lady gracefully paid homage to Buddha stature inside. I really like the design and the craftsmanship of the donation box. It is a beautiful piece of work.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamamura - Donation box

Visitors walking up from temple level to mountain view. You can see Hydrangeas were blooming along the path.  It was a long line.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamamura - Walking up to the mountain.

I like this Hydrangea that I spot along the path. Its flowers formed in a very nice shape.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Hydrangea 1

Another lovely Hydrangea.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Hydrangea 2

A view of the temple from the higher level.

Hase-Dera Temple - Kamakura - View over the temple.

OK, one more picture of Hydrangeas a long the walking path. You can also see people in line down below. It was a busy day.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamamura - Hydrangea 3

I spotted this statue on the way back down to the temple level again. The statue looks a bit funny with the Hydrangea.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Statue with Hydrangea

Very beautiful temple’s roof structure.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Temple's roof.

I think I was back to the ground level now. This is another view of the garden.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Garden

Hase-Dera temple also have an underground level.  These statues were placed in the underground tunnel.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Statues Underground

These candles were in the underground tunnel. I do not know the meaning of them.

Hase-Dera Temple Kamakura - Candles

As usual, I hope you enjoy the tour of the place. They just bring good memory to me.

Hama-Rikyu Gardens

Hama-Rikyu gardens is a public park in Tokyo.  But as I stepped into the park, I was not sure that I was still in Tokyo as one of the biggest and busiest city in the world. It was just a few minutes ago that I was just was surrounded by tall buildings, busy streets and walking through crowd of people.  Only the sight of the buildings at the perimeter reminded me that I was still in the city.  I was touched by serenity and the well blended between nature and the Japanese culture from the park.

These are few bits of the Hama-Rikyu park.

Hama-Rikyu Garden, 1

The welcome sign at the front of the park.

Hama-Rikyu, 2

Japanese pines grow on the low cut grass lawn. The tall builds remind you that you are still part of the city.

Hama-Rikyu, 3

This is an interesting object. It was hung from the roof as part of rain gutter. I guess it was used to catch the rain drops and to prevent the water damage to the ground blow. I am guessing here.

Hama-Rikyu, 4.

I met a park resident.  I could not resist to make friend with him.

Hama-Rikyu, 5

The park is also located at the mount of Sumida river.

Hama-Rikyu, 6

I was wondering how these great trees survived on their own.

Hama-Rikyu, 7

I just like the shape of the trees. It made me wonder whether human had anything to do with it or not.

Hama-Rikyu, 8

An artful way of giving  nature a hand. The supports are like the tree limbs that just grew downward.

Hama-Rikyu, 9 Tea shop.

I believe this is a tea shop – A very good idea.

Hama-Rikyu, 10

I am not sure what this is.

Hama-Rikyu, 11

Hydrangea…  they can be found in the park too. I just love them.

Hama-Rikyu, 12

Long reaching vines for a good bye.