One of my favorite things about Tokyo has always been the placement of shrines in seemingly random areas around the city. What I forget is that the shrines were there first – and the city was built around them. What I love is that there can be a conglomeration of really modern, very tall buildings and then a little shrine nestled right in there among them. This shrine is near the high school where I teach, in the Takanawa section of the city, a very modern and fashionable area. I pass it every morning on my bike and there are many mornings that I stop and admire it. On festival days it’s decorated and the smooth, sweet scent of incense fills the air. People stop by to pay their respects, and they’re always beautifully dressed in traditional garb. It’s always so quiet. It’s peaceful.
Here’s another view of the shrine – the first view is over the gate, but this one has the fence in it, and you can better see its proximity to the other buildings.
In a city of 13 million people, the serenity of the shrine is truly something to behold. I don’t just mean this shrine – it’s any shrine. Somehow they present the aura of peace and people respect it. Just one more thing to love about this city.