|First Torii at Meiji Jinju|
|Gift of wine from France to Emperor Meiji who opened Japan to the West|
We did a ceremonial cleansing at the Temizusha (ablutions font) and then went up to the main shrine, where one bows twice, claps hands twice and bows once again. A coin offering is also accepted. On our way out of the grounds, which were stunning in autumn colors, I heard chanting so like a child to the pied piper I found a group of elderly people practicing chants for a performance- a Shinto choral group if you will. (see addendum) Very haunting.
|Offertory Box to left|
|Shinto chant practice|
|Drum in front of Shrine|
Grounds of Meiji Jinju
For more information on Shintoism, which Emperor Meiji made the state religion of Japan in 1868, see here and here. Most important, for my niece in particular, is that Kami are Shinto gods.
UP NEXT: The afternoon/ evening in Tokyo at the Hama Rikyu park, Sumida River trip, Asakusa and Ginza.
ADDENDUM : To the western ear, the people chanting sounded like a choral performance to me. However, that description is not really accurate in context. My friend, guide and helpful editor points out that the performance " is called Shigin, which is a traditional form of Japanese poetry and usually chanted. There is strictly only one standard melody."
Also, Lonely Planet August 9, 2010 states:
Visiting a shrine:
Entering a shrine can be a bewildering experience. Just past the gate you’ll find achozuya (trough of water) with a hishaku (long-handed ladle) to purify yourself. Take a ladle, fill it with water, pour some over one hand, then transfer the spoon and pour water over the other hand. Finally, pour water into your cupped hand and rinse your mouth, spitting the water onto the ground.