This photo came up on my Tumblr dash the other day and I instantly recognized the location.
Back on my trip to Japan last summer, we stayed at the Shinbashi Atagoyama Tokyu Inn while in Tokyo. It sits right next to the Atago Shrine (pictured above), which is actually the highest natural hill in Tokyo, although it doesn’t seem like it with all the buildings that tower over it. The story of Atago Shrine, which takes place in the 17th century, tells of a young Samurai who rode up the very steep steps on horseback to deliver plum blossoms to the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The shogun was so impressed, he secured the young Samurai’s future. As a result, the steps became known as Shussei no Ishiden (stone staircase of success), a symbol for success in life and visiting Atago regularly is important to an individual’s continued success. Now located in Tokyo’s business district, many Japanese business people climb the steps, seeking good fortune in their career. It is also considered a rite of passage, with many fresh graduates coming before starting their first job.
Going back to Japan has been constantly on my mind. In fact, it’s something I think about every single day. It was such an amazing experience. When I was there, I felt more comfortable, more “at home” than in the US, even despite the language and other barriers.
Over the past year, I’ve been developing a working list of places I didn’t get a chance to visit the first time around. Unlike my last trip which jumped around to cities in various parts of Japan, I’m planning to just stay in Tokyo. There’s so much we didn’t get to see and visit the first time, and plus, because it’s centrally located, it facilitates the ability to do day trips to places outside the city. Places on my list include the Gundam statue and cafe on Odaiba, the Prince & Skyline museum in Okaya, and performance shops like ASM and Kameari.
Hopefully, my plans come to fruition soon…