Returning to Japan has been a wonderful start to 2016. Travel has become such an integral part of my life in recent years. Discovering new places is great, but returning to old favourites is just as lovely. I guess Japan is pretty special to me, as I lived and studied there. It’s fair to say that I left a little part of me in Tokyo. So I was eager to see if I could rediscover it several years later.
Tokyo is a wondrous city. Old and new meet, and they compliment each other perfectly. Tradition is a big part of Japanese culture, and so it’s only natural that you can find shrines of various shapes, sizes and colours across the capital. You’ll often find these shrines nestled between skyscrapers, round the corner from a shopping district, or down the back alley of a residential area.
But it’s not only shrines. Even in the middle of Shinjuku you will find people taking a minute out of their hectic lives to snap a photo of the illusive sakura (cherry blossom). This event only happens once a year, and the bloom lasts for only a few days, with the national news covering the spectacle for weeks beforehand. Many Japanese people believe that the sakura are also an analogy of life – it is beautiful, but fleeting, and should be appreciated as such. This is probably one of the reasons why Hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties) is so popular – it’s literally been held for centuries.
Tradition and history are very much ingrained into everyday life in Japan. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Even so, this harmony of history and modern day society, works so well together. And it has always been my favourite thing about the real city that never sleeps.
Tokyo Travel Diaries and more
I’ll be posting some city and travel guides to Japan, including Tokyo (Harajuku, Shibuya…), Kyoto and Osaka. So make sure you keep your eye out for more Japan Travel Diaries soon.