In my last blog post, day two of six, I shared where to go for a great shopping day and also some beautiful sights! For today’s post instead of shopping, I will share where to find some great spots to see and experience modern and traditional culture of Japan.
One of my favorite things about Japan is that even though the culture is always changing with the times they never forget their traditions. I could be walking in the most modern and busy city in Japan and I could still find a little shrine or temple hidden away.
Shibuya is a really exciting place to visit. People are everywhere, lots of shops, nightclubs and is a fashion district! Though it’s not a hidden gem Shibuya is very popular for its famous cross walk! As you leave the train station at the Hachiko exit, wait and watch and you will see tons of people collide as they all try to cross the huge intersection. Why this is so entertaining to watch and also cross it as well, I have no idea!
While enjoying the shopping and sights of Shibuya also look for some of the hidden history of the area! I have three locations that I visited while in Shibuya.
1. Konnoh Hachimangu Shrine
Address: 3-5-12 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
The Konnoh Hachimangu shrine is known to have housed the Shibuya clan and is also their place of worship. Some of the original Shibuya castle has been preserved on the grounds of the shrine. The history of the shrine is a bit confusing, it was really neat learning what I could.
I don’t understand a lot about shrines but I try to learn as much as I can since I do live here. I love looking at the buildings, they always have so much design and color!
Across the street from the Hachimangu shrine we found another shrine! I’m not sure what the name of the place is. Taking a walk through the small charming shrine was so peaceful. I could walk through shrines and temples all day long!
2. Miyamasu Mitake Shrine
Address: 1-12-16 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo
Located on Miyamasu Hill
At first, we could not find this shrine! We walked around the same few blocks over and over. The reason for our confusion was that this shrine is built up above the street! It is literally hidden between a bunch of huge buildings. It reminded me of the house from Stuart little, the movie with the mouse! The only difference is that the shrine is up some steps and its a shrine, not a house. Anyway, keep your eyes open while looking for it because it is easy to get turned around and miss it.
Once you walk up the steps and leave the busy street its like walking into a whole new world. The gravel was raked into perfect lines with a cement path that leads you to the shrine. It was quiet and actually different than other shrines I have been too. Shrines always have some kind of creature of animal guarding it at the entrance in pairs and at this shrine it has a pair of wolves. Seeing wolves guard the shrine is rare in Japan.
3. Haciko Square
Address: 2-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
This statue is of a dog named Hachiko, an Akita, who every day would go to the train station with his owner Hidesaburo Ueno. While his owner went to work at the University of Tokyo, Hachiko would sit and wait at the station till he returned home. For many years the owner and dog did this until one day Hidesaburo died. Years after Hachiko continued to wait at the train station for his owner until he died as well. This statue was made of Hachiko for his great loyalty and love. The University of Tokyo has built a statue of Hachiko being reunited with his owner Ueno.
After a long day of walking and seeing all these fun (and sad) locations my two friends, sister, husband and I all headed back to the train station to go home. We picked a bad time to catch a train. Since I ended my blog with such a sad story I figured I would share this photo of us being crowded into a train during rush hour. I have never in my life been so close to my friends and the wonderful strangers around us. Those videos and pictures you see of crowded trains in Japan, yes, they are real! Go ahead, google crowded trains in Japan and see how it is!
Stay tuned for day four of my blog series where I will share all the fun things to do in Ueno!
© 2015 TNG