Farewell to Aoyama
Today is the last whole day that we will spend in our little flat in Minami-Aoyama. Tomorrow we move onto pastures new (I’ll put some photos on here of the new place as soon as I have time). There’ll be a few things I’ll miss about Aoyama: namely its convenience on the subway and the little Monsoon restaurant down the road, where for 1000yen you can have a starter, a main, all-you-can-drink soft drinks, and access to the salad bar. The main thing I will miss, however, is its stunning graveyard. It has, over the past month, doubled up as my jogging route and reading spot. There’s a certain stillness of the place that, having been here for a while, seems almost impossible in the centre of Tokyo. The scent of sandalwood often hangs in the air and I sometimes hear a rustle of leaves as a skittish cat escapes from view, whilst others blithely sunbathe on some of the marble plaques.
I’m sure some of you reading this are questioning my taste and sanity, listlessly strolling amongst silent stone. The Japanese treat graveyards differently. You will see people walking their dogs, people painting, families laughing a joking, and even a few guided tours. It really is a thing of beauty and it easily ranks among my favourite places I have visited, not just in Japan, but anywhere.
So here’s to you Aoyama graveyard. (click for larger and right click and open in new window for full)
It’s hard to grasp from the photographs just how large the graveyard is. Wikipedia has it down as 260km squared. After being here for four weeks, I am still discovering areas that I have no recollection of seeing before. There is something very special and mystical about wandering along narrow paths, created solely by stones erupting from the soil, and then to stumble across a shaded little shrine, seemingly untouched for years. This feeling is merely an illusion, of course, as the graveyard is meticulously tended and well-maintained and you will often see family members maintaining their own personal graves.
I think this area is a must see for anyone in central Tokyo.
I’ve been visiting a few shrines and temples recently, as well as re-visiting Kamamura to see some of the sights I missed last time. I’ll have the photos of my exploits up on here the next time I have chance.
So, this time tomorrow, I will be moving my belongings into my Roppongi flat. I really can’t wait to sit at my new desk with my new computer chair/throne, which will be more conducive to writing than this Quasimodo creator I’m sat in now. I’ll post again when I’m all settled in.
Have a better one!