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Trent Baumbach

Attempting to Escape the Crowd

by Trent Baumbach Wednesday, April 29, 2015

If you view the Tokyo metropolitan area from a bird’s-eye view, it looks like a never-ending blob of concrete buildings. That said, there are plenty of parks, temples, shrines, and other spots with more relaxing atmospheres to escape to. Just don’t expect to be the only person there!

Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples

Shinto, which translates as “the Way of the Gods,” is the indigenous religion of Japan, while Buddhism has been prominent since the sixth century, AD. Although the majority of Japanese people have secular beliefs, both religions are important for prayer and ritual practices. Scattered all over Japan are shrines and temples devoted to the gods and spirits of these faiths. With beautiful architecture, peaceful gardens, and quiet atmospheres, Tokyo’s temples and shrines are always worth visiting.

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Meiji Shrine- Harajuku, Tokyo

 

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“Daibutsu” statue – Kamakura

 

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Garden at the entrance to a Buddhist temple

 

Parks

Like any large city, Tokyo is dotted with parks both large and small. From late March to early April, these parks become completely packed full of people hoping to enjoy the cherry blossoms before their two-week lifespan is over. Following the Japanese affection for aesthetic beauty, parks in Japan are always clean and pristine.

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A park with mats set for “Hanami,” or flower viewing picnics.

 

Hiking

Being predominantly mountainous, you will be near something worth hiking no matter where you are in Japan. Although Mt. Fuji is certainly the most famous mountain in Japan, the closest, cheapest, and easiest option is probably Mt. Takao, which is under an hour from central Tokyo by train.

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View of Tokyo from halfway up Mt. Takao