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A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Miyamasumitake Shrine

One of the things I’ve always liked about Tokyo is that amongst all the buildings you can usually find a hidden treasure or two.  One of this city’s treasures, Miyamasumitake Shrine, is located not far from Shibuya Station. Walk up nearby Miyamasuzaka (“Miyamasu Hill”) and you’ll have a chance to stumble upon it.

Most people never see the entrance to this shrine

It is actually quite easy to miss, as the narrow entrance is located between some big buildings.  If you are the type that doesn’t look around while walking, you could just keep walking up the hill and pass it by completely, which is exactly what many people do.  I used to teach in Shibuya, and when I talked about this shrine to my students, some of them had no idea it existed even though my school was literally only a couple of minute’s walk away.

If you do find your way to it and make your way up a long and fairly steep set of stairs, you’ll be at the entrance. There isn’t a lot to see, as the surrounding area is starting to show its age (luckily some areas of Miyamasuzaka are undergoing redevelopment). It is just the standard shrine complex, well-kept, but very small. It does have a rock garden, so be careful to stick to the path! The thing I love about it is looking up and see the surrounding buildings dwarf it on three sides. If you turn around, you’ll see Shibuya Hikarie soaring into the sky.

It’s nice to know that these small, beautiful shrines still exist in Japan’s big cities.  The contrast of old versus new, the small shrine against the large urban buildings, and the tranquility of the secluded juxtaposed against the busy outside makes them places to be treasured.