We visited Yasukuni shrine on a weekend. Their was an antique market going on in front of the shrine; we wanted to see both. The market was great but the shrine was even more so. There is a power there that some people do not like. Personally, I think every country has a right to honor their dead. There are no innocent countries or armies anywhere as far as I know. They do good, they do bad.
I enjoy going to shrines throughout Japan. Yasukuni has been on my list for awhile. We came through the main dori, washed our hands and mouths and entered the shrine’s main compound. We prayed and stopped for a few moments to reflect on the peace and quiet, the birds singing and the beauty of the place.
I recommend visiting Yasukuni if you have the chance. It is situated in a beautiful part of Tokyo, not far from the Tokyo Dome.
Lucky, we had the chance to visit the stone tatami mats along the river running through Nagatoro. Our first stop though was a walk from the station up to the Kodosan mountain jinja where we spent a leisurely hour or three enjoying the shrine in it’s eternal beauty and also hiking around the hills and mountains above Nagatoro.
Trains from Tokyo on the Seibu-Chichibu line can take you to the sleepy mountain village in less than two hours.
It was a beautiful day in Tokyo today so after some business meetings we left Harajuku and made our way to the Meiji shrine or Meiji jingu in Japanese. It is an expansive and beautiful place.The trees and tori, towering over us, are amazing. The birds and flowers are blooming and all in all it is a beautiful place to be.
We entered by the main gate and before us was the massive tori in the photo above. It was a little funny to me there was actually a sign telling people they are welcome to come and pray but no other funny business is allowed. If you know why they have this sign please leave a comment and start a discussion. I am curious about it. By the way. Please forgive my poor cell phone images. Next time I will try to do better.
We followed the winding path, seeing visitors from all over the world coming and going. People from the U.S. and France, Russia. I even met a couple from India. Of course there were many Japanese there and also Taiwanese, Koreans and Chinese. It was beautiful to see people from all over Asia and the world in such a peaceful setting. It gave me hope for a future world filled with peace rather than a world filled with war and tyranny.
We prayed and I immediately felt better. Like a new day awakening before me. We stopped and looked at the offerings Meiji shrine offers to its visitors. Various Meiji charms, talisman and fortunes.
Follow the Way of Empress Shoken
After discussing with Usagi, I decided to take a poem that is written by Emperor Meiji or Empress Shoken as my spiritual guide for the day.
A priestess hands you a wooden cylinder that contains long narrow sticks, each with a number on it. The number correlates to the poem you will get. You shake the cylinder and in a moment a stick pops out. The priestess read the number, in my case 6 and she gave me the poem. Mine was written by Empress Shoken.
Ever downward water flows,
But mirrors lofty mountains;
How fitting that our heart also
Be humble, but reflect high aims
In Japanese kanji the poem reads:
Takayama no kageo utushite yuku mizu no
Hikiki ni tsukuo kokoro tomogana
A Meiji jingu priest offers a further interpretation:
A down-flowing stream still reflects the
image of the highest peaks above.
Let your heart, in a similar manner, be humble but reflect high ideals.
It is a beautiful poem that reflects ideals everyone, everywhere should try to maintain. Imagine our world if people lived by this creed. It would be a beautiful place to raise our children, safe from all the problems people face today. With the Empress’ words we can make our own lives a better place and better hopefully for our friends and family. I am thinking to send this post to Barack Obama and Vladamir Putin and all the members of the United Nations and ask them to please consider their people when making their decisions. Our world leaders seem to have forgotten their own peoples. Instead they think of money and their own financial gains.