Togo Shrine Harajuku
Togo Shrine is a Shinto shrine in the Harajuku district of Tokyo built less than a century ago to commemorate Japan's naval war hero, Heihachiro Togo.
Togo Shrine Harajuku 東郷神社
Meiji-dori Avenue Entrance to Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo
Togo Shrine is a picturesque Shinto shrine that is an oasis of calm in the bustling Harajuku youth fashion district of Tokyo. It was established towards the end of the Second World War to worship the spirit of one of Japan's most celebrated admirals, Heihachiro Togo.
Pond, Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo
Heihachiro Togo (1848-1934) was the legendary Imperial Japanese Navy admiral who trained in naval warfare in the U.K.. In May 1905, he led his navy to victory against the Imperial Russian Navy's Baltic Fleet in the Battle of Tsushima. This led to Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War - the first time in modern history that a great Western power had been defeated by a non-Western nation. He was a national hero, lauded even in the West as the "Nelson of Japan," and a symbol of victory in his homeland.
Togo Memorial Hall, Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo
The shrine was built four years after Togo's death, in 1937. The site was the former mansion of the lord of Tottori prefecture, and was chosen for its proximity to Meiji Jingu Shrine, which venerates Togo's master, the Emperor Meiji.
Togo Shrine was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945, and rebuilt in concrete in 1964. In 1989, an extreme Japanese left-wing group tried to destroy the shrine three weeks before the funeral of Emperor Hirohito.
Sacred torii arch in garden of Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku
Togo Shrine Features
Togo Shrine is in two similar-sized sections: the Togo Memorial Hall fronted by a sizeable landscaped strolling garden with pond and, next door on higher ground, the walled shrine itself.
The Hall and garden section is the more relaxing and photogenic. Large colored carp swim in the pond, with walk bridges and a surrounding landscaped Japanese garden. Togo Shrine's main business is traditional Shinto-style weddings, so it is not uncommon to see newly married couples posing for photographs in the garden. Sightseeing with discretion is required on such occasions.
Stairs from garden to main shrine of Togo Jinja
The shrine itself is separated from the garden by a wall and stairs. Because Togo himself was a symbol of the Japanese victory over Russia, his shrine has become a place to seek victory in any field. Therefore, it is a popular place for athletes and other sportspersons, or anyone taking part in any kind of competition, to pray for strength and winning luck.
Main shrine building, Togo Jinja
Entrance to main shrine building, Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo
There are several entrances around Togo Shrine, but easiest access is from Takeshita-dori Avenue and Meiji-dori Avenue.
Takeshita-dori is the famous pedestrian avenue that runs from Harajuku Station down to Meiji-dori. The entrance to Togo Shrine is almost exactly halfway along Takeshita-dori, down an alley that is on your left if you're coming from Harajuku Station, or on your right if you're walking towards the station. The bright yellow Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store is the landmark. The alley runs between two stores that sell the crepe snacks that the street is famous for. This leads to stairs going up to the shrine itself.
Meiji-dori Avenue is the main avenue that intersects Omotesando Avenue at Jingu-mae intersection. From Omotesando, turn left onto Meiji-dori if you're coming from Harajuku Station (right if you're coming from the Minami Aoyama direction). The entrance to the shrine (the garden and hall) is 300 meters down the road, on the left, unobtrusively sandwiched between two huge multistory buildings.
Visitors to shrine building, Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo
From Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line go left out of the station 150 meters to Takeshita Street. Go about 160 meters down Takeshita Street and turn left just before the bright yellow Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store. Go between two stores that sell the crepe snacks that the street is famous for, and to your right are stairs going up to the shrine itself.
From Meiji-jingu-mae (Harajuku) Station on the Chiyoda subway line and the Fukutoshin subway line, take Exit 5 and walk down Meiji-dori Avenue. The entrance to the shrine (the garden and hall) is 300 meters further on, on the left side of the road, sandwiched between two huge multistory buildings.
Torii arch at Takeshita-dori entrance to Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo.
Nearby Togo Shrine
Togo Shrine is in the middle of the Harajuku fashion district, full of clothing boutiques, art galleries, jewelry and accessory shops, hair salons and the like.
The most famous streets nearby are Takeshita Street and Omotesando Avenue. The Shibuya Ward Central Library is just north-east of the shrine. The Seicho-No-Ie religious organization has one of its trademark parks, called SNI Harajuku Life of the Forest, a little north-west of the shrine - another restful spot.
Meiji Jingu Shrine is about 15 minutes walk from Togo Shrine, on the other side of Harajuku Station.
Pathway inside Meiji-dori Avenue entrance to Togo Jinja Shrine, Harajuku