Adrift in Majestic Tokyo

Misa Shikuma

 

A few summers ago, I visited Japan for the first time with my family. My parents had carefully planned out a jam-packed 10-day trip that would take us from the urban jungle of Tokyo to the somber memorial at Hiroshima and the former capital Kyoto, along with a few other stops in rural Chichibu and a night hike up to the summit of Mt. Fuji to watch the sunrise. It was exhausting, exhilarating and, best of all, allowed us to experience an array of the many facets that the island nation has to offer.

 

Having been to a fair number of major international metropolises, I was surprised to find Tokyo to be a completely different urban animal. The alleys felt narrower and the buildings taller than in even downtown Manhattan, but most striking was the inescapable sense of overpopulation. Sure there were some sparse enclaves away from bustling city life, like the tranquil Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, but many of the areas we visited were similar to Times Square – throbbing with energy and packed with people. So while Tokyo offered more than enough things to do, see and buy, it was quite intimidating, even for this lifelong city girl.

 

Author/Photographer Bio:

Misa Shikuma, a contributor at Highbrow Magazine, is a writer and photographer based in Paris.

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