Shrine is Shinto.
Sake ("rice wine") is made from fermented rice.
These sake barrels are displayed as a decoration and are placed here in honor of the souls of the deceased Emperor Meiji and his deceased wife Empress Shoken enshrined here at Meiji. The barrels are donated to this shrine by Japanese sake brewers with the sake being used for shrine ceremonies and festivals.
Shinto is the oldest religion in Japan and is the native religion of Japan. It was founded in 660 b.c.e. It is practiced in public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of gods (kami).
Meiji (Meiji Jingu) is the most important Shinto shrine in Tokyo and was built in 1920. The shrine was destroyed in the Allied aerial bombardment in 1945 and rebuilt with private donations in 1958.
“Meiji” derives from the Meiji era (1868-1912 and corresponds with the reign of Emperor Mutsuhito who died in 1912 and who is now known as Emperor Meiji. His wife Empress Shoken died in 1914. The shrine is dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. Each New Year's holiday as many as three million people come to visit this shrine to make wishes and buy good luck charms for the coming new year. This shrine attracts the greatest number of worshipers for this occasion in all of Japan. The 170,000 trees found in the Meiji Shrine complex are not a natural forest, but donations from all over Japan dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken.
Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan. He was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1867 at the age of 14. This was the end of Japan’s feudal era and the peak of the Meiji Restoration. The emperor was restored to power in place of the existing shogunate, and Japan rapidly westernized and modernized to catch up with the west. By the time of the emperor’s death in 1912, Japan was one of the world’s major powers.
The Meiji Shrine complex (particularly the forest) is an oasis in the middle of Tokyo and is a popular recreation and relaxation spot. The peacefulness of the natural surroundings in the complex markedly contrasts with the busy sights and sounds of modern Tokyo. Throughout the trip we noticed the contrasting environments of traditional and modern Japan with one environment often surrounding the other.