Next stop for me, hubby, my brother and sister was Meiji Jingu, where the deified spirits of the Meiji Emperor and Empress was enshrined. You can also read more about the shrine on itsofficial website. Meiji Jingu was quite easily accessed - it was right next to the Harajuku Station on the Yamanote train line!
Looking back at Harajuku Station from the pedestrian foot bridge at the intersection.
A view of Meiji Jingu from the same pedestrian foot bridge. This picture was actually taken after we had left Meiji Jingu actually, but it shows the main metal gate (white, far left) to the shrine complex.
Me in front of the outer wooden torii, basically the entrance of the shrine complex. The torii stands right behind the main metal gate that closes at the end of the day.
Not a far walk into the complex going towards the main shrine, there is a giant wall of colorful sake barrels, all donated to the shrine.
The short walk towards the main shrine was quite a beautiful and relaxing stroll. If you've ever been to New York City, you'll understand why having a huge park right smack in the middle of a bustling metropolis is such a godsend! You bet I am comparing Meiji Jingu to Central Park, if you would ignore the fact that the shrine is, well, a place of worship. The only difference here is that Tokyo is like NYC on speed! The pace is much more dizzying and the crowds are much more suffocating! I thought Saigon was pretty damn crowded but holy crap, Tokyo is insufferably crowded! I don't think I've ever seen more Asian people in my life LOL!!! Of course, this only makes it more mind boggling that any plant at all can even sprout in this city of concrete that is Tokyo, let alone a freakin' park!!!
Hubby and I haven't been to Tokyo that often, but now that we have gone several times with my brother and sister, we are both thankful we live in a rather quiet corner instead. And yes, if you haven't figure it out by now, we're not big city folks at all. Perhaps it's a sign of us getting old, but even if Tokyo is crazy fun and we enjoy it very much like we did NYC, at the end of the day we still want to go home to the quiet and peace where we both can be left alone and undisturbed by the constant noise and chatters ^.^
The torii to the main shrine.
The inner gate to the main shrine.
The inner praying hall, looking forward the actual shrine. Cameras aren't even allow into the praying hall, however you can take pictures standing at its threshold. Some zoom is in order.
The main shrine, which didn't look like visitors are allowed.
This is the interior of a resting hall with a gift shop. The place was really brightly and beautifully lit!
A well at which visitors are supposed to rinse their hands and mouths before entering to pray. Every shrine and temple in Japan has at least one of these, or one at each entrance.
And every shrine and temple in Japan also has its own sealed, signed with calligraphy. Many visitors, such as my sister, collect these stamps. My sister pastes all hers into a thick book, a stamp per page. This is Meiji Jingu's stamp, and the calligraphy was actually handwritten by a priest (where as some shrine/temple have them printed).
A bit of distraction here. Okay, I'll fess up, I was really, really, really silly when I packed for my move to Japan. We were only allowed 2 check-ins per person, and hubby wanted to take his guitar so we were down to only 3 check-ins. And instead of sending a box or two of winter clothes via ocean and have them arrive a couple months later when the weather changes, I...umm...left those winter clothes at home.
Well, I didn't exactly left them at home, I did plan to have them brought here to us in Japan since my family and I planned way ahead of time before hubby and I even left the states that my brother would visit us in December. So I thought, what the hell, we'll just make do with fall clothes and layer up until my brother arrives with our winter clothes. Yeah, crazy stupid, I know. No, make that f*cking nuts, because by the time October rolled around, it got really cold really fast. Not that Yokohama can get really cold, after all, the falls here are quite mild and the winter temperature rarely dips below freezing. But that said, it can get really wet and rainy, even in December, and you know how humidity just make the cold soak right through your clothes.
Anyways, we weren't at all prepared for the cold with our summer clothes and light fall jackets. Hubby and I had not a single pair of long lounging pants (yes I meant trousers, leave me alone!) with us to wear at home and we were warmer when we go out because we would then layer up adequately. Not very smart, I know. So by early November, I broke down and did some shopping ^.^ And then finally, my brother arrives with our winter clothes, after some shopping damages had been done, of course ^.^ May be deep down inside, the shopaholic in me had this all planned...muahahaha...