|Meiji Shinto shrine|
|Part of the complex|
Dedicated to the late 19th-century emperor who opened Japan to the West, Meiji Shrine, Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrine is wonderfully serene and austere, not colorful or flashy like other Asian places of worship, and is less of a tourist trap than Senso-ji, the big Buddhist temple across town in Asakusa. The 40-foot-high torii gate at the entrance to the 200-acre park is made of 1,500-year-old cypress, and there's a second one like it closer to the shrine itself. Stop at the cleansing station where you can dip into a communal water tank and purify your hands and mouth before offering up a prayer. You can write wishes on little pieces of paper and tie them onto the prayer wall, or do as the locals do — toss some yen into the offering box (it's near the enormous taiko drum), bow your head twice, clap twice, and bow once more.