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Shrines to skyscrapers

Tokyo Travel Blog

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The view of the Tokyo Tower through the Atago Green Hills development
Some times when you travel odd things can happen to your sleeping pattern. This was the night it happened to me. I lay awake for hours, tossing and turning. I was knackered, but I couldn't sleep. My mind just wouldn't switch off. I ended up smoking an entire pack of cigarettes and reading a cheap paper back from the airport before I realised it had got light.

My travelling companion was never one to rush in the mornings. In fact, when we'd agree a time to rendezvous in the foyer I'd automatically add on at least forty-five minutes nap time before I got ready. As we'd agreed to meet four hours later I had a little time to myself to do some exploring. With this in mind I adopted a jaunty step as I stepped out of the hotel and immediately began to melt in the suffocating humidity.
The steps to the Atago Jinja Shinto shrine


I wandered aimlessly for a while, heading off in the direction of the Tokyo Tower with a vague notion that I might climb the thing and look at the view. Instead I stumbled across the Atago Jinja Shinto shrine, which turned out to be almost next door to our hotel.

The shrine is very pretty, a nice pool surrounded by trees that give off a lot of shade. What's less nice about it is the number of steps you have to drag yourself up to get there. Apparently they bring you luck if you manage the whole thing. It certainly gave me a feeling of accomplishment at 7.15am to look down as they stretched into the distance.

I lurked in the shrine for a while, watching the faithful come and go; paying their respects on their way to work. Wash hands, purify spirit.
Looking down the many, many steps!
Address shrine. Ring bell. Clap. Bow. Off. It was quick, but clearly meant a lot to the believers and a nice way to start the morning.

Next to this shrine, as part of the Atago Forest Hills development is the Seishouji Buddhist temple. This place was spanking new. It could have been dropped into the landscape the day before, or just had the bubble wrap taken off. There was a nice stream trickling its way through the grounds, from an awesome green dragon fountain that emerged from the wall like a myth made flesh. I liked that a lot, and spent a while staring until a patient monk doing some sweeping started to look concerned, like I'd gone mad. I smiled a bit, and then made my retreat past the gigantic Deva guardians that protect the temple.

I snuck back into the hotel, even though I didn't need to. It was an hour until my mate and I were due to meet up. I put the kettle on to boil some water for a nice tea. And fell asleep. Typical.
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The view of the Tokyo Tower throug…
The view of the Tokyo Tower throu…
The steps to the Atago Jinja Shint…
The steps to the Atago Jinja Shin…
Looking down the many, many steps!
Looking down the many, many steps!
View of the Atago shrine
View of the Atago shrine
The grounds of the shrine
The grounds of the shrine
Nice pond
Nice pond
Detail on one of the stones in the…
Detail on one of the stones in th…
Looking down at the small graveyar…
Looking down at the small graveya…
Looking up the Green Hills scraper
Looking up the Green Hills 'scraper
The Tokyo Tower above the Seishouj…
The Tokyo Tower above the Seishou…
Looking at the Seishouji temple
Looking at the Seishouji temple
It was 7.30 am so the place was ve…
It was 7.30 am so the place was v…
The amazing dragon fountain
The amazing dragon fountain
Looking up at the scraper
Looking up at the scraper
Two of the Four Deva guardians to …
Two of the Four Deva guardians to…
Small Buddha fountain
Small Buddha fountain
Looking across the city
Looking across the city
My room in the Tokyo Hotel
My room in the Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo
photo by: maka77