Yesterday was a crazy day. Driving on unfamiliar roads through a major metropolitan area with a GPS that seemed to only want to communicate in Japanese and that had a hard time knowing which of the four roads in my general area I was actually on . Thankfully parking was easy, gotta love those military benefits and having a hotel (New Sanno) in downtown Tokyo with free parking.
After checking into the hotel we decide to walk a little and explore the city. Thousands of people had some type of similar idea yesterday… this is Tokyo after all. The streets seemed alive and the crowds ebbed and flowed in and out of the stores, restaurants, and shops. People were everywhere, doing everything.
It was a constant, and overwhelming stream of inputs.
Then we found this temple.
There is no way the picture can do the experience any justice. The way the temple grounds were situated, the sounds of the city slipped away into a distant background hum before completely disappearing on the other side of the tori gates. The Setting sun back let the courtyard in an orange and pink glow which highlighted the soft freshness of the new sakura (cherry blossoms). There was a sharp, cold breeze which picked up the blossoms and made them dance through the air as the branches swayed rhythmically.
You can’t see it in the photo, but to the right was a large hanging bell that was rung by a hanging log that a man was swinging with a red and white braided rope. The crash and ring of the bell made it easy to slip into a deep reverie… and the constant motion and press of the inputs from the city around us slipped away and allowed a mental reset. It was invigorating and refreshing.
It was truly a moment of peace in the midst of organized chaos.
I often try to find moments of peace like this in my life, but it can be hard to get them on a day to day basis. I think this is part of the beauty of traveling. You get to find peace in an unexpected place.
All we did to find this temple with it’s beautiful moment of peace was to turn right instead of left. We could have easily missed this amazing opportunity… but odds are we could have found another if we were looking. The trick is to keep looking.