Today, it’s hidden in the shadow of the Tokyo Tower, but the temple of Zojo-ji was once among the grandest in Japan. This was the Tokugawa clan’s favored place of worship, and the resting place of many shoguns. We visited the temple on Buddha’s birthday and, afterwards, took time to check out the nearby Shiba Detached Palace Garden.
Although it houses a priceless collection of bronze sculpture from China, along with artwork that spans the history of Japan, the most valuable commodity of the Nezu Museum might be its tranquility. Outside lurks the distressingly crowded shopping mecca of Omotesando, but inside this museum, we found one of Tokyo’s most peaceful corners.
A green oasis floating atop the murky waters of Tokyo Bay, the Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens will transport you to the days of the Shogun, as long as you manage to keep your eyes focused on the duck ponds and cherry trees, instead of the impenetrable row of skyscrapers on the horizon.