Shinjuku Dori

Beautiful raphis palms outside of small shop

I love how this small shop on Shinjuku Dori has two beautiful raphis palms outside the storefront. They provide a lush and tropical look and partly obscure the air conditioning unit.  Tokyo has a surprising number of small shops throughout the city, and their owners seem more likely to take pride in their neighborhood and cultivate plants than big chain stores.

Shrines provide recreation and green space

On busy Shinjuku Dori, near Shinjuku Gyoen, there is a tiny shrine. I was startled last weekend to see a group of senior citizens playing ring toss in front of the open shrine. It was interesting to hear that there is nothing sacrilegious about using sacred space for recreation.

Apparently children often played in shrines, so with the aging society and few places for outdoor activities, I guess it is no surprise to see seniors enjoying this outdoor games and social time. Here you can see how the shrine is a small open space on a busy street full of tall buildings and a firehouse.

Here’s more photos of the game and the streetscape in Shinjuku Ichome. It’s great to see how shrines preserve open space, provide space for mature trees and for recreation. This shrine has many layers of trees, including a cherry tree.