Exploring the Stunning Meiji Shrine and Bustling Harajuku Street

Written by Katherine

February 8, 2013
Last Updated on March 5, 2024

After a crowded experience at the beautiful Sensoji at Asakusa, our next stop brought us to Harajuku, a place well-known for cosplayers on a weekend. We also took the opportunity to visit the Meiji Shrine, which is just a short walk from the Harajuku station and saw a special occasion taking place there! Read on to discover the beauty of the Meiji Shrine, the beautiful occasion for the day, as well as the bustling street at Harajuku~! (o´ω`o)ノ

BEFORE YOU GO

You might want to consider checking out the following related posts as well:

An Unexpected Visit to Meiji Shrine

This may come as a surprise to you, but Meiji Shrine was NOT on our itinerary in Japan. Haha! Our visit to Meiji Shrine was totally unexpected, and we got so much out of our visit there, which was amazing.

Our initial idea was to visit Harajuku to witness the vibrant cosplay culture in Japan as cosplayers hung out at Shrine Bridge, a bridge near Harajuku station, on Sundays. Though not a fan of cosplay, I thought it would be a great experience to witness it in real life. However, we were surprised to learn that the cosplayers no longer gathered at Shrine Bridge as they started to feel uncomfortable with the tourist attention. I got to say I was kind of sad to know this but I also respect their decision. After all, they just wanted to cosplay, but they became photo opportunities for tourists instead. (´-ω-`)

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Since we did not get to see the cosplayers, we decided to head over to Meiji Shrine, which was just beside Shrine Bridge. Honestly, we did not expect much from our visit to the Meiji Shrine since, to us, it was yet another temple/shrine. But it was probably one of the most interesting experiences we have ever had.

Visiting Meiji Shrine during Shichi-Go-San

Compared to Sensoji, Meiji Shrine’s compound was very much bigger. As such, it made walking and exploring the shrine a more relaxing experience as the paths were wide. Trees were lining the path as we headed into the main shrine compound, and it felt so zen.

Since it was a Sunday, we thought that it was normal for the shrine to get crowded. But then we spotted a lot of children dressed in their traditional outfits, and we were wondering what was going on. Then we realised that so many people were visiting the shrine with their children as they were celebrating the Shichi-Go-San festival! w(°o°)w

What is Shichi-Go-San

The Shichi-Go-San festival is a day when children ages three, five and seven visit the shrine with their parents to thank the deities for their healthy growth and well-being. They also seek blessings and pray for the children’s good health for the coming years. The Shichi-Go-San festival is on 15 November, and since that day was a weekday, families chose to bring their children to the shrine on a weekend instead. And we just happened to be there on that particular weekend! Aren’t we lucky? (´ ω `♡)

Meiji Shrine is one of the most popular shrines in Tokyo that families would visit hence explaining the crowd on the day we visited. We had the chance to see so many children wearing their lovely traditional outfits, and they all look so cute! A cute little girl grabbed my attention with her chubby cheeks. I can’t help taking a photo of her looking cute in her lovely kimono. There were another two girls whose parents asked them to pose for tourists, who were happily snapping away. And that included me. Haha!

A Wedding Ceremony in the Shrine

Besides a lot of families celebrating Shichi-Go-San at Meiji Shrine, we also spotted a wedding couple having their family photo taken in the Meiji Shrine compound. We were not sure if it was a wedding as everyone looked so solemn. (*/ω\)

The Japanese wedding is so different from our weddings in Singapore. All the guests were dressed so formally, with the gentlemen all wearing suits. In Singapore, usually, only the closest family members would be in formal outfits. Depending on the location, some guests might only just wear a polo tee and jeans. So, if you are Japanese, please don’t be surprised to see people dressing down for a wedding reception in Singapore. (*/ω\)

Information about Meiji Shrine

MEIJI SHRINE (明治神宮)

⏰ Opening Hours: 5:20 AM – 5:20 PM
🔎 Website

Visiting the Bustling Street in Harajuku

After we finished exploring Meiji Shrine, we decided to head over to Takeshita Street, one of the busiest streets in Harajuku. Since Takeshita Street is known for its trendy fashion boutiques, I wanted to take the opportunity to maybe do some shopping around. But to our surprise, the whole street was PACKED. We thought Sensoji was bad, and we were WRONG. (⊙_⊙)

After walking just a few metres into Takeshita Street, Feng and I gave up. We tried. We really did. But the crowd was just too much for us to handle. There was not much space to move around, and everyone was just so close to each other. I tried going into one of the shops, and the shop space was SO TIGHT! I walked in and turned back immediately. After the crowded situation outside, the last thing I want is a claustrophobic place to shop in. So we ended up not seeing or doing much at Takeshita Street. (×_×)

The biggest takeaway we had from Takeshita Street was this person who was dressed in pink. I don’t think he is cosplaying anyone, but he was a good sport, posing for my camera. ( ´ ω ` )

Overall Experience of Meiji Shrine & Harajuku

If you are ever visiting Harajuku, you MUST drop by Meiji Shrine. I love the zen vibe that the place gives off. If not for the crowd on the weekend or the festival, we would most likely be able to enjoy more peaceful moments there. But honestly, I think we were lucky to be able to experience a special occasion in Meiji Shrine. We DID NOT intend to visit the shrine but it gave us an experience that we would never forget. (´ ω `♡)

Also, Feng and I would like to come back to Takeshita Street again, hopefully on a day when it is less crowded. We have not seen ANYTHING inside, so I can’t tell you much except that weekends are a no-no for Takeshita Street if you are planning to go there. Haha! 〜(><)〜

Spread the Love!

Loved what you just read? Think your friends or family would enjoy it too? Hit your favourite share button below, and let’s make good vibes travel! Your support is greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch for being awesome! (´• ω •`) ♡

Useful Travel Resources

Pack your wanderlust, and let’s set sail! I have prepared the following travel resources that you might find helpful to fuel your next adventure. This section will be ever-growing, and if you think there is anything that you want me to add to this list, drop me a message to let me know! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

💰 BEST Cards to Use for Your Overseas Spending

Want to enjoy seamless spending overseas without the pesky fees? Check out my post on the best card to bring overseas – the Trust Bank and YouTrip cards!

🥶 Tips on Packing for 10 – 20 Degrees Celsius Weather

Winter packing woes got you stressed? My guide will turn your “Gaaaah!” into a smooth vacay in 10 to 20 degrees Celsius weather!

Want to travel light without the luggage hassle? Well, I’ve got a handy tip for you: luggage storage and Yamato Transport’s reliable luggage delivery service! If you’re flying into Narita or Haneda Airport, the Japan Airport Limousine Bus is a fantastic option for getting to your accommodation. Plus, check out our other Tokyo-related posts – there’s a lot more to explore! ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝

Let’s Connect!

If email isn’t your cup of tea, you’re welcome to stay in touch through my social media channels! I have the latest posts and updates on Facebook and weekly photos on Instagram. Now and then, I drop by IG with travel stories, too! So, feel free to say hello and connect!

If you prefer a more direct line, you can always reach out through this contact form. I’m excited to connect with you! Thanks for visiting! (´ ε ` )♡

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *