Walking in Aoyama and Harajuku

On a walk through Aoyama and Harajuku this winter, I entered Hatomori jinja, a beautiful green space with a shrine and and Noh theater.

It was strange to be in an urban oasis of trees and greenery and see this glass encased theater decorated with an elaborate pine tree painting.

Is art civilizing nature? Or is nature sheltering art? I do not understand much about Noh theater but I love how the image of an idealized pine assumes a sacred and formal role in the performance.

Across from the Noh theater is the shrine itself. Because it is winter, there is a circle of rice straw you walk through in order to enter the shrine. I love how this shrine had visual signs about how to wash your hands, and the proper way to pray. Japanese can be very precise in providing step-by-step instructions.

Aoyama is a mostly wealthy neighborhood, and includes a famous ginko lined street as well as the Crown Prince’s residence in Togu Gosho. There are many good-looking modern buildings, too. I was surprised to see this ruined old building.

Finally, heading into Harajuku, I saw an apartment building named Maison Harajuku covered in plants. I believe that it is a single vine originating from the right side of the front of the building. How long could it have taken for the vine to cover the building? What maintenance is required to keep it from swallowing the building?

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s