Shrines to skyscrapers
Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 15 › view all entries
August 15th, 2009 – by: andytite
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.
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.
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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