The Wonder of Shinto Shrines
We had a few hours yesterday morning before heading to Tokyo’s Haneda airport for the flight to Hokkaido. Pat and I decided to visit the Meiji Shrine.
Beginning with my first visit 47 years ago I have been drawn to the many shrines of Japan. There is something special about walking beneath the distinctive torii gates that welcome all who enter into a holy place. Once within there are stone wells of water and dippers for cleansing hands and possibly the face.
Even after all these years I do not know or understand that much about the Shinto tradition. For me simply being in those sacred spaces offers solace and centering and a sense that no matter what our spiritual tradition that we are all searchers and seekers and in need of grace and places to show our gratitude.
One enters the Meiji Shrine along pathways with magnificent trees forming a majestic canopy for what is a soulful meander.
There are reflective water features and it turns out the iris garden opened on June 1st for an added treat.
The area around the grounds is crowded but respectful.
Many shrines sell votive wooden blocks. Years ago it was explained to me that people bought them from the priests and hung them wishing for a miracle. I have collected wooden blocks from over a hundred different shrines.
The wooden rack where the blocks hang at the Meiji Shrine surrounds a most impressive tree. We ask a woman to take a picture of us. Her accent is southern European. She smiles before raising the camera to her face.
“It is a tree of wishes.” She says.
What a perfect description. My wish on this day is that we all might find peace.
As well as photos from yesterday I'm including a few from previous visits. The song I am including is The Brothers Four recording of "What a Wonderful World."