Meiji ShrineFree: All time

Located just besides the lively and noisy Harajuku district, the Meiji Jingu Shrine and its large forested area makes a pleasant and serene stroll. It is also less of a tourist-trap compared to the Senso-ji Temple. Enter through the massive torii gate that is made of 1,500-year-old cypress, and find yourself walking along a pathway in the middle of a tranquil forest. The proper etiquette is to bow when passing the gate. When you see the second gate, you’re finally reaching the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Stop at the cleansing station to rinse both your hands and mouth before entering the main shrine. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken. Many of the trees you see in the park were donated by people from all over Japan and overseas to commemorate the late King. To make a wish at the shrine, put in some coins into the box, bow twice, clap your hands twice, make that wish and bow once again. There are also other parts of the shrine ground, including the treasure house and the inner garden. These sections charge admission fees.

Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8557
Opening hours: Daily opens with sunrise (5am – 6:40am) and closes with sunset (4pm 6:30pm); season dependent
Direction: Train JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station
Phone: +81 3-3379-5511

Photo credit: japanese craft construction (Flickr CC), Paul Kalupnieks (Flickr CC)