In the Land of the Rising Sun: Part Six


"The overriding sense of Tokyo is that it is a city devoted to the new, sped up in a subtle but profound way: a postmodern science-fiction story set ten minutes in the future" - David Rakoff

SERENITY WITHIN CHAOS With upwards of 38 million people and 51 of the global Fortune 500 companies, Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world and home to some of the busiest places you'll ever see. So how do you seek some quiet time in this chaotic, science-fiction atmosphere? I made it my goal to find out.

UNDER THE BLOOM: I visited Tokyo during peak sakura season, so my first thought was to try and find tranquility below the bloom. Unfortunately, everyone had that thought and I spent an evening in Chidorigafuchi elbow-to-elbow with hundreds of tourists and residents. The picture looks tranquil though!

ELEGANCE: I visited Meguro River, another famous sakura spot, and it was also packed. However, when you find the right spot along the miles-long path of cherry blossoms, you can almost forget about the chaos around you and focus instead on the beauty in front of you.

CHRYSANTHEMUM THRONE: I visited the Imperial Palace, the seat of the Japanese emperor, because of one framing shot I remembered from the film The Last Samurai. I wanted to pay homage to the cinematography from that movie. And maybe getting away from the cherry blossoms could lead to some peacefulness.

MEIJI HONOR: I visited Meiji-jingu, an important shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji. Located in a forest within the city, the temple felt fairly calm on a misty morning. I was getting closer to the serenity I wanted.

SHINJUKU PICNIC: I visited Shinjuku Gyoen, hoping the gardens would provide the quiet moments I desperately sought. Turns out, I was on to something. The park had just the right number of visitors that day, creating the perfect spring atmosphere. And hey, more cherry blossoms!

UNDER THE RAINBOW: I visited the man-made Odaiba Island and found a small, landscaped peninsula near the Rainbow Bridge. Somehow, the area was empty and I could spend twilight completely alone enjoying the skyline views.

THE FOREST FLOOR: I visited many places, but sometimes, the best things happen by accident. In the dense urban jungle that is Tokyo, below the canopy of modern skyscrapers, I came across this Torii gate-lined stairway. During my random experience, I spent a quick moment of solitude appreciating the serenity I had found.

Tokyo is busy, bustling, and chaotic. It is one of the closest things to a science-fiction megatropolis on this earth. But while the city feels like it's been sped up, like the "fast-forward" button is perpetually pushed down, moments of solitude are possible. You can find serenity within the chaos if you look hard enough. I did.

FIN: For more photos from Japan and around the world, please visit my website:

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