There is no one in Tokyo who doesn’t know the Meiji Kinenkan (Meiji Memorial Hall). Today, it is known for being a venue for parties and weddings, but this building has a long history. The Meiji Kinenkan is over 100 years old and one of its highlights is the beer terrace. Surrounded by trees and the historic site, it’s a relaxing oasis in the middle of Tokyo!
The history of Meiji Kinenkan is amazing!
Meiji Kinenkan is located right in the middle between JR Shinanomachi Station and Aoyama-itchome Station. Also, it is not far from the State Guest House Geihinkan (← which is another touristic hidden gem!) we’ve visited about two months ago. Meiji Kinenkan was originally built on the premises of the State Guest House as a residence for the emperor. Well, in the end, the emperor did never actually lived there. Instead, the building was moved two times – the second time it came to the place where it is now located. That was exactly 100 years ago.
Moreover, this is the building where Japan’s constitution was enacted. that meant the end of the samurai era and the beginning of modern Japan – trying hard to become a modern state and starting to adopt the latest technology of each country.
The origin of nowadays Japanese wedding ceremonies
Although Japan is a modern country now, Meiji Kinenkan has kept the charm of traditional Japanese buildings in some parts of the venue.
After World War II, Meiji Kinenkan started a new business coordinating wedding ceremonies. Meiji Shrine which you find in every travel guide on Tokyo belongs to Meiji Kinenkan. They have a shrine, a kimono and wedding dress rental place, they take the photos and have enough space for enormous wedding receptions – Meiji Kinenkan has it all.
Today, in Japan it is common to go to a wedding venue and have them totally coordinate and plan your wedding for you. But in fact, Meiji Kinenkan was the first to offer these type of “all-inclusive weddings”, from the ceremony to the party!
We visited the rental place for wedding dresses and kimonos which is usually not open to the public.
I found out that it costs you 1.5 million yen or 13.600 USD to (just!!) rent one of the pricier kimonos! (that’s because it’s the real deal with real silk)
Still, the kimonos are astonishingly beautiful. While I was glazing at all the beauty surrounding me, staff offered us to actually try on one of the kimonos.
We were really lucky! But if you are interested in wearing a wedding kimono, you can get your picture taken at Meiji Shrine! (link: click here for more info)
Chilling at the beer terrace!
There are several restaurants at Meiji Kinenkan (sushi, teppan-yaki, Chinese etc.), where anyone can eat without having to be a wedding guest.
If you go through the lounge “Kinkei” (in the old part of the building) into the garden you’ll find the beer terrace “Sekirei” there. From now until September, from 17:00 to 22:30 you can enjoy light meals and drinks while enjoying the moist green surrounding you. The grass spreading in the garden absorbs summer heat, so this might even be the coolest beer terrace in Tokyo!
How did you like my little introduction? Meiji Kinenkan is recommended not only for architectural fans, history fans, Japanese wedding fans and so on but also for those who want to enjoy a beer in a Japanese-style atmosphere.
No skyscrapers will spoil the view! By the way, Meiji Kinenkan is also a place where the emperor occasionally has dinner, so it has to be great, right?
Place: 2-2-23, Moto Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Period: Monday, June 4, 2018 – Friday, September 14, 17: 00-22: 30
3 minutes on foot from JR (Chuo · Sobu Line) 【Shinanomachi station】
6 minutes on foot from Metro (Ginza Line, Hanzomon Line, Oedo Line) 【Aoyama-Itchome Station】 (Exit 2)
6 minutes on foot from Subway (Oedo Line) [Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station] (Exit A1)