In the middle of Tokyo there’s a forest, where people go good naturally on a winters day to talk to gods and listen to them. Meiji Shrine in Shibuya-ku was constructed in honour of, and enshrines the souls of, two most beloved deities. The Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) was responsible for the re-opening of Japan following 200 years of isolationism, and gingerly manoeuvred its passage into the modern world. He introduced Western ‘civilisation’ whilst fastidiously preserving the identity and integrity of traditional Japanese culture. The Empress Shoken – the beloved mother of our nation – “assisted the Emperor behind the scenes during this eventful and difficult Meiji period” says the pamphlet.
Forget words. When it comes to mediums for expression, Japan is ultimately more about aesthetics. Whilst this is played out spectacularly on the kabuki stage, there’s really no slicker way to explore Japanese culture than to head to Tokyo and dive head first into its art scene. It’s a lucid, throaty articulation of modern Japan, meal for the city’s creatively carnivorous residents; plus there’s something for everyone. It deals in the contemporary and traditional, the Japanese and foreign, and it’s spread out all across the city. So if you love art, getting acquainted with Tokyo’s art scene gives you the perfect angle to infiltrate Tokyo’s flawlessly designed, culturally packed landscape.
Every spring, people swarm the parks, canals, and streets of Japan for a glimpse at the breathtaking sights that are the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. This wondrous, brilliant spectacle, takes beguiling pink hues to a whole new level boasting nature’s magnificence. The exact season of the blooming cherry blossoms (sakura) takes place during a different period each year, with each region of Japan varying in length and month. For a precise forecast of the trees blooming, please check this government website dedicated solely and accurately predicting the optimal time and place to view the blossoms (including a comparative to last year’s forecast, for reference). Japanese people routinely look
An absolute treat within your stay in Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a must-see destination. Residing in what is considered the ‘downtown of Tokyo,’ it provides an opportunity to get in touch with nature, escape the bustling nature of the city, and see one of Japan’s most famous attractions. The grounds are about 144 acres with gorgeous footpaths walking you through the some 20,000 trees that are planted there. You can see three very unique and distinct styles here: French Formal (based on symmetry), English Landscape (the use of ponds or lakes, gently rolling lawns and meadows) and traditional Japanese gardens (creating miniature idealized landscapes). Outside of the cherry
Tokyo is a good, old-fashioned city with one million faces: in this sense, it’s one of the best. Its 23 districts flaunt unabashedly unique characters, and the city as a whole unrelentingly inundates residents and guests with images. Everything from cats and cute boys to scenes of old Japan; modern kids pretending to be traditional, beguiling women and unhappy businessmen falling off platforms. It’ll leave you feeling bamboozled, and more than a little bit curious. What is this place, and what does it really look like anyway? Mori Tower, Roppongi Tokyo piques your senses, and evokes emotions that people may have never experienced in their lives. Downtown, you’ll spot people