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Old and new Japan on the road to Zojoji

As you pass through the massive Shiba Daimon, you can imagine being transported to the Japan of old, with the historic Zojoji temple lying just beyond.

By 2 min read

Emerging from Daimon station on the Toei Subway Asakusa line, you’re immediately surrounded by a vibrant, bustling office district. This one though—unlike the nearby Shimbashi or Toranomon areas—has a more laid-back feel with wide, tree-lined avenues and a cosmopolitan yet quintessentially Japanese atmosphere.

To the east are the busy tracks of JR Hamamatsucho station and trains rumbling past the towering World Trade Center Building and its neighboring skyscrapers. This hub of trade and rail transport sits next to Tokyo Bay and is the dock for many popular tourist cruises.

Strolling west you approach the massive Shiba Daimon (Great Gate of Shiba), an arch straddling an intersection and even time itself. As you pass through it, you can imagine being transported to the Japan of old, with the historic Zojoji temple lying just beyond, while the more modern—and equally impressive—Tokyo Tower stands in the background.

chinese-restaurant

Just next to the Daimon Gate you can find the popular Chinese restaurant of Feng Lin on the first floor of the Shiba Daimon Hotel. It’s worth exploring these side streets on your return as they hide a multitude of Chinese and Japanese-style restaurants, such as izakaya and noodle shops.

Continuing up to Zojoji temple—much of which needed to be restored after sustaining heavy damage during World War II—it still seems as majestic as when it first stood over 400 years ago. This venerated Buddhist temple was built in 1590 and is officially listed as an Important Cultural Property for Japan. It’s said that if visitors to the temple pass through the Sengedatsu Mon, or main gate, they can free themselves from three passions: greed, hatred and foolishness.

North of the temple lies Shiba Koen (Park), a large urban green space filled with paths and walkways that have amazing views of Tokyo Tower and plenty of spots to rest, relax and ponder your next mini-adventure on the Asakusa line!

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