Shinto shrines can be found everywhere in Japan. Some, of course, are large and grand like the famous Meiji Jingu in central Tokyo, but many more are small, simple structures — especially so outside the big cities. And yet while they are all unique, I’ve never seen one quite like this before, or at least not one with such incredibly striking torii gates.
Rainy season, it has to be said, isn’t the nicest time of year. The humidity ramps up enormously, and, as the name suggests, it tends to rain rather a lot. Yet despite such unpleasantness, June is a popular month to get married in, and probably just as popular as a venue is Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine. A money making machine that at the weekend sees up to around 15 weddings in a single day.
Given the surroundings and the ceremonial outfits, the public procession element of each service is quite the spectacle. An aspect that used to garner a huge amount of attention due to the shrine being a popular tourist spot, but it was just me and a young family watching on Saturday. One of the many very visible changes of the world we now live in. A new world in which this young couple are starting a new life in. But it’s a journey they are embarking on together, and one that started out in some style to say the least.
Traditional Japanese festivals are always worth seeing as there’s a unique energy that makes each and every one of them enjoyable. But for those involved, the effort to create that dynamic can clearly be exhausting.