Tokyo Trip Vol.1
Hello guys~! This is a special post for my best friends who came to Tokyo this summer. They are Kai (Taiwan), Minnie (Hong Kong) and Seunggyu (Korea). They spent about a week in Tokyo, and we did sightseeing together in places such as 浅草 (Asakusa), 上野 (Ueno) and 原宿 (Harajuku), which are all famous and popular destinations. In this post, I mainly write about temples and shrines in Japan based on their questions that I couldn’t explain clearly at that time. I also write about the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station.
A Basic Knowledge Of Temples And Shrines
Temples are based on Buddhism and shrines are associated with Shintoism, a religion originating in Japan. During their stay in Tokyo, we went to 浅草寺 (Sensoji), which is the oldest temple there. Speaking of shrines, we went to two shrines: 根津神社 (Nezu shrine) near 上野 (Ueno) area and 明治神宮 (Meiji Shrine) in 原宿 (Harajuku) *Minnie was visiting the Snoopy Museum in 六本木 (Roppongi) while we were visiting 明治神宮.
Q. What is 仲見世? (by Minnie)
. 仲見世 (Nakamise）is a shopping arcade where you can find traditional Japanese souvenir shops.
Types of shrines in Japan
It is said that there are 800,000 shrines in Japan and we went to two of them: 根津神社 (Nezu shrine) and 明治神宮 (Meiji Imperial shrine). Such a great experience!There are several kinds of shrines such as 稲荷神社, 神宮, 八幡宮 and 天満宮, and we saw two kinds of them. One is 稲荷 (Inari) ,which are shrines dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. 伏見稲荷 (Fushimi Inari) in 京都 (Kyoto) is the most famous one of this type of shrine. Speaking of 稲荷, we went to 根津神社, where you saw closely-spaced vermillion torii gates lined up along the pathway in the compound. It looks similar to 伏見稲荷 that probably Minnie and Seunggyu have visited before in 京都. The other type is 神宮 (Imperial shrine), which was administrated by the government during the era of state shrine, from the Meiji era to the end of WWⅡ. From this type, we went to 明治神宮, which is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken.
根津神社 (Nezu Shrine)
Q. What is the meaning of 胞衣塚？(by Minnie)
A. A place (塚) where a placenta (a membrane which covers embryo) is embedded. lol
明治神宮 (Meiji Imperial Shrine)
Meiji Imperial shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken.What was the Omikuji like that Seunggyu tried in 明治神宮?By the way, the Omikuji (a fortune-telling paper) that Seunggyu tried in 明治神宮 was different from those in 浅草寺. Normally, omikuji gives you fortune-telling about items in your life such as health, love, traveling and work. However, the omikuji from Meiji shrine gave you “Waka”, a classical Japanese verse form. It’s because Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken did like composing Waka.
皇居 (Imperial Palace)
*Minnie was still in the Snoopy Museum at that time.皇居 (Kokyo), formerly known as the Edo castle, is the residence of the Emperor of Japan since 1868. (YES! The Emperor IS living here)
Q. What’s the difference between King and Emperor? (by Seunggyu)
A. It’s totally difficult and a very long way to answer in this blog page. lol
After going to the Imperial Palace, we headed for Tokyo Station, and I gave you wrong information there. I said the building of Tokyo Station was designed by Conder, a British architect. However, the truth is that Tokyo Station was designed by Tatsuno Kengo, a Japanese architect who learned from Conder.More questions will be welcome by commenting. In the Vol.2 post, I will write about food, based on some questions mostly asked by Kai.