Tokyo Travel

Tokyo Shorts – Gokoku-ji Temple

One of the things I enjoy doing in Tokyo is browsing Google Maps for the Buddhist swastika symbol (卐) – not to be confused with the Nazi version – which show where temples and shrines are located. Since many of them can be hidden away down small streets and alleys it’s a great way to explore the neighbourhood.

Gokoku-ji Entrance

Close to where I live I came across Gokoku-ji (護国寺) – an impressive temple built in 1681 that is notable for surviving the American air raids during World War II, whereas most other historical sites in Tokyo were turned into rubble.

Gokoku-ji Temple

The stone stairway approach, under an avenue of trees, is gorgeous on a sunny day.

Temple Grounds

It’s a beautifully tranquil spot which doesn’t get many visitors so most of the time you’ll have the grounds to yourself.

Colourful Gokoku-ji

Temple Cats

The only other inhabitants you might run into are the many cats with live there!

Gokoku-ji Cemetery

Attached to the temple grounds is a large cemetery in typical Japanese style.

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Peaceful Graveyard

The perfect spot to clear your mind and get a bit of perspective.

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Dog Lady

On my way back home I passed an old lady with no less than four dogs on leashes!

Carp Streamer

To celebrate Tango no Sekku (端午の節句) or Children’s Day, carp-shaped wind socks known as Koinobori (鯉幟) are traditionally flown across rivers.

PET Bottle Recycling

It never ceases to amaze me how efficient the recycling system is here – forget to properly separate your trash and you’ll be in big trouble (something I’ll save for another post).

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Tokyo. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

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