A few weeks ago I was asked to do a public talk and share some of my photography and stories from my trip to Tokyo, Japan. All the things I do somehow seem to boil down to sharing stories at some level, and speaking is one of my all-time favourites. In preparation for the event, I enjoyed reviewing some of my photographs in Tokyo, and I discovered some images that I haven’t shown publicly before. It’s funny how sometimes it takes a while until I “discover” an image in my collection somewhere. I didn’t really see Higher than Empire State until months after my visit to New York, which quickly became one of the most popular images in my gallery.
Tokyo just might be the largest city in the world, comprised of 23 individual wards, all with their own unique characteristics. Foreigners are easily intimidated by the sheer expanse of Japan’s capital city. The best way to explore Tokyo’s frantic bustle is to allow the subway to lead the way. A loose itinerary will draw you into true Japanese life through unexpected encounters and more intimate experiences.
Travel to Tokyo with an open mind and willingness to get lost among the hustle and bustle of this city of extremes. When you get overwhelmed with the neon-lights, maybe you’ll find yourself again in the silence of a shrine. The expansive city and system of subways make it nearly impossible to make a wrong turn.Visit my Tokyo Gallery
Tokyo: A Consumer Capital
One of the most expensive cities in the world also has one of the most rampant and flamboyant consumer cultures. Tourist attractions in Tokyo consist of many shopping complexes in addition to the cultural favorites. The Ginza shopping district is a must-see, with thousands of mega-stores, boutiques and an excessive array of non-functional novelty stores. For a taste of New York in Tokyo, visit Shibuya, which is filled with higher-end shops, shrines, oversized plasma TV screens and the busiest pedestrian street crossing in the world. While you’re there, don’t miss the statue of Hachi.
In Japan’s ocean of technology it’s easy to become desensitized by the neon lights that line the city streets. But if you venture a few minutes away from those busy streets, you’ll find that Tokyo also possesses some of the most idyllic and serene shrines and pagodas in the country. Meiji-jingu is the most impressive of Tokyo’s Shinto shrines, built with Japanese cypress and copper plates for the roof.
Just north of the city, Bonsai Park treats visitors to the zen-like art of cultivating these meticulously placed miniature trees – dedicated to the calming of the mind.
Another essential experience for anyone traveling to Tokyo is the view of Mount Fuji in the early hours of dawn. You don’t have to go far, as this is possible from within the city. Just ride the elevator to the top of one of the massive skyscrapers such as the Government Building in Shinjuku.
Directly in the center of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace (Kokyo) is an inner-city sanctuary that is home to the Imperial Family. The public can visit the surrounding East Gardens and walk along the double bridge over the tranquil moats of the palace grounds, but the palace buildings and inner courtyard are closed to visitors.Tokyo Fine Art Photography