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Joen-ji and Surrounding Streets

A quiet space inside one of the world's busiest areas

Joen-ji is a picturesque and unremarkable temple, overlooked by some of the tallest buildings in Tokyo. Visiting in the evening, when the bright lights of central Shinjuku are still competing with the remaining sunlight, is the most atmospheric choice. Listening to the wind shaking the wooden sotoba grave markers and dislodging leafs and petals from the temple’s greenery, it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in one of the densest urban areas in the world. That is, until you look up. The contrast is a pleasing one - vertical lines of the skyscrapers are reflected in miniature by the tightly-spaced graves of the temple’s traditional cemetery.

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