Meiji Jingu, Tokyo and Recycling in Japan

The shrine was completed and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920, eight years after the passing of the emperor.

Emperor Meiji (November 3, 1852 – July 30, 1912) and the empress played the role of modernizing Japan. “He presided over a time of rapid change in the Empire of Japan, as the nation quickly changed from an isolationist feudal state to a capitalist and imperial world power, characterized by the Japanese industrial revolution.”  —Wikipedia

Entry into the shrine grounds is marked by a massive torii gate. Here two young visitors were paying their respect before entering the gate:

The gate was made of Japanese cypress, is one of Japan’s largest at a height of 12m (13.2 yd.) and a span of 9.1m (10 yd.) from post to post.

Approximately 100,000 trees that make up Meiji Jingu’s forest were planted during the shrine’s construction and were donated from regions across the entire country.

These sake barrels are offered to the enshrined deities every year by Meiji Jingu Nationwide Sake Brewers Association.

The Inner Garden (20.50 acres) is the only part that had exited long before the the Meiji Jingu.

Unexpectedly, we saw a long line of priests marching toward the Meiji Shrine gate. It was an autumn equinox Ceremony at Meiji Shrine. No music or drum, they marched quietly.

After touring Meiji Jingu, we stopped at the cafe (outside of the torii gate) for a break.

While we were enjoying the Japanese tea and pastries, I saw a young father and his two kids (at around 2 and 4, maybe) were about to leave. The father picked up their trash on the picnic table and placed it in his paper shopping bag, he then wiped the table carefully.

I remember, on our first day touring Tokyo, we had hard time to find a trash can on the street and in the massive and busy train station, yet no littering. Watching this young father, I learned quickly that in Japan, people take their trash back to home. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the environment clean. And, they do it religiously. And, they take 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) seriously. Rules are here.

At 77 percent, Japan’s plastic recycling rate is about twice that of the U.K. and well above the 20 percent total for the U.S., reports The Guardian. The nation also recycled 72 percent of its PET bottles in 2010, more than doubling the U.S. recycling total of 29 percent… — Earth 911

A small town in Japan, people make even more effort. They have reached 80% recycle rate and are aiming to become a “zero waste” town by 2020.

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