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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a wedding, a shrine, a forest

Saw this beautiful wedding procession at a shrine in the middle of forest right in the middle of Tokyo! Had no idea that such an expansive forest existed in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world.

Here's an excerpt about the shrine from the official website.

Meiji Jingu Naien
(Photo: Meiji Jingu Naien)

Welcome to Meiji Jingu!
Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine. Shinto is called Japan's ancient original religion, and it is deeply rooted in the way of Japanese life. Shinto has no founder, no holy book, and not even the concept of religious conversion, but Shinto values for example harmony with nature and virtues such as "Magokoro (sincere heart)". In Shinto, some divinity is found as Kami (divine spirit), or it may be said that there is an unlimited number of Kami. You can see Kami in mythology, in nature, and in human beings. From ancient times, Japanese people have felt awe and gratitude towards such Kami and dedicated shrines to many of them.

This shrine is dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken (their tombs are in Kyoto). Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914. After their demise, people wished to commemorate their virtues and to venerate them forever. So they donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and from overseas, and they worked voluntarily to create this forest.
This forest was carefully planned as an eternal forest that recreates itself. Now after about 90 years it cannot be distinguished from a natural forest, inhabited by many endangered plants and animals.

Thanks to the sincere heart of the people, this shrine was established on November 1, 1920.

... The most incredible thing is that I thought I was in an old-growth forest as I walking through; I had no idea until later upon reading more that it was actually planned and planted by people. Remarkable!


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