Before Meiji Shrine was constructed, the land it lies on belonged to the imperial household. With the exception of the current imperial gardens, the land was mostly fields, and would have made a barren landscape.
Work on the Meiji Jingu Forest began in 1915 – a grand plan to create an “eternal forest”. Messages came from across the country that people wished to donate trees, from Sakhalin in the north and Taiwan in the south. And from beyond Japan, trees arrived from Manchuria in northern China, and Korea. More than 110,000 youths helped to plant them, and so a forest was born in the heart of Yoyogi.