Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hello Japan! (part 3 - spirituality)

Japan manages to achieve a unique balance between spirituality and hedonism—look at this picture where a quite shrine (bottom) can be found nestled amongst the crowds of Harajuku (top). Another good example was when a gay person I spoke with told me he first went to the shrine to pray on New Year's Day at midnight (like most other Japanese) and then proceeded to a gay dance party. During my trip, I dropped by numerous shrines, temples and palaces and here are some of the pictures from those visits.


At Asakusa, the contrast between the traditional and the new becomes as clear as day. I particularly like this shot with the Senso'ji Temple standing majestically in front of the Tokyo Skytree.


This place would be swarming with extreme crowds when it turns midnight on New Year's Day. Well I am guessing as I was busy partying then.


Is that a giant slipper in the rightmost picture?


Scenes of praying and fortune-seeking. Also, it is believed that you will receive good blessings from the smoke of the burning incense.


The grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace can only be accessed via a free tour that needs to be booked in advance where you'd have to register your personal particulars. Because of this, it is extremely peaceful and serene. It makes you pause for a moment to imagine how it was like back in those days when the emperor was still living there.


The Todai'ji Temple in Kyoto is a UNESCO Word Heritage Site and is the largest wooden building in the world. I was very impressed by its architecture and its sheer size. Just look at those ant-like figures at its doors!


Kyoto is dotted with countless little shrines and though I am not a spiritual person, the quiet ambiance there was amazing and very refreshing.


These shrines are a photographer's heaven.


You can find these mini shrines in tiny alcoves by the streets of Kyoto. I heard there is a shrine in Japan for almost every thing one would want to pray and wish for.

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