My no-sleep plan was put on hold as rain started to pour after our Tokyo Tower night shoot. I was able to rest for two hours before my alarm blared its muffled tones below my pillow. Like a zombie, I groggily went to the window and fully awakened to a gray Japanese morning. It was still raining.
But I cannot let rain ruin my day. Our call time was still a few hours away and I wasn’t about to waste those precious minutes inside our hotel. After a quick breakfast, I quickly packed my cameras and headed outside. I checked my map and followed the crowd of umbrella-toting salarymen of Japan.
I have exactly thirty minutes to quickly locate and photograph my query, a certain Atago Shrine. It looked quite near from the hotel we’re staying, well, at least from my map. My GPS was still not working so I had to rely on landmarks denoted on the electronic screen of my cellphone.
Eventually, I found a tunnel that looked like the shrine entrance. The Japanese really value silence, as was like on the bus we rode from Narita Airport, pedestrians are prohibited from making any loud noises while inside the tunnel. I exited and found that I was only half-right about the quiet passage, it wasn’t the shrine entrance but the shrine sits directly above it.
Three storeys above ground, the elevator opened to a very wet causeway to Atago Shrine. The rain was not letting up and even with my umbrella, my pants and shoes were starting to get exquisitely drenched.
Cherry blossoms were all over the ground, it probably would’ve looked really magical if it wasn’t all wet and soggy from the constant rain. I checked my watch, fifteen minutes before call time. I went into overdrive.
I quickly scanned the area and found the shrine entrance framed by lush greeneries. The Atago Shrine, similar to the nearby Konpira Jinja at Toranomon, is originally built during the seventeenth century when Tokugawa reigned supreme over the whole of Japan.
The area is built twenty six meters above sea level and used to have a beautiful panoramic view over Tokyo. That is until skyscrapers started claiming the city’s skylines. In fact, the shrine also doubled as a look-out for devastating fire outbreaks in the area during bygone eras. Ironically, its main deity is the fire god Homusubi no Mikoto.
I was only starting to explore the shrine and was so torn into continuing inside the Atago Jinja versus heading back to the hotel. My cheap wristwatch said that I have only ten minutes left. With a heavy heart, I turned my back against the koi ponds, the red toriis, the sakuras and walked back towards the rainy streets of Tokyo.
Address: 1-5-3 Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Contact Number: (03) 3431-0327
Open Hours: 5:00AM to 9:00PM
GPS Coordinates: 35.664758,139.748583
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here