Aoyama cemetery

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aoyama-headstone.jpgI have a thing for cemeteries. Walking among the headstone, thinking of the people memorialised there; wondering what they were like; why their families keep up their plots (or not). And, of course, there's always a bit of a sexual element running through my head at the same time. After all, sex is what brings all of us together, it may be the only thing we all have in common.

All cemeteries are enjoyable, but Japanese cemeteries in particular are peaceful and orderly. Each plot is for a full family; there are rarely monuments to individuals. Some sections are quite severe; others, like this one, are beautifully landscaped.

aoyama-roppongihills.jpgFrom Aoyama Cemetery, where I took these photos yesterday, you can see the huge Roppongi Hills complex in the background. It's new construction that's nearly finished now. The pictures doesn't really do it justice in terms of its amazing size. Towers over everything in the vicinity.

I like the contrast of old and dead with the new, vibrant Tokyo in the background.

9 Comments

I have a thing for cemeteries as well. In Japan it is just for the quiet atmosphere (far from the madding crowd) but especially when travelling in English speaking countries where the headstones can be fascinating... T

My Mum has a thing for cemeteries...almost every school holidays we would find ourselves stomping around in a dusty old one somewhere in the outback...

i love cemeteries too, that s one of my best memories from scotland (spent a month touring around it some year ago). they were so green and quiet, we used to rest in them during the day.
regarding roppongi hills, i ve been wanting to go and check out the building for the past few weeks, you ve decided me. i love the second pic, the building is like a cgi model pasted in the background. really nice contrast of for/back-grounds.
can t wait for wednesday.

Paul, what happens on Wednesday?

I can't email you!! Everything has bouced for the last week.. (sorry to use your blog!)

Kuri-san,

Dang I was going to post on that graveyard!! My cab this morning went through it, and I thought when the weather's nicer, it wouldn't be a bad place to spend a quiet afternoon. I know - kind of weird hanging out at a graveyard, but you'll notice that there are plenty of blossoming trees which should be beautiful once spring comes.

Tokyo really is a small place.

-Jason

Oups, was so into it that I forgot the context. I said that cos I just asked my boss if I could go for a stroll/photo-stroll in Roppongi Hills area on wednesday. I have one of those great jobs where we are expected to stay up to date with the latest in design/media/archi/whatever and you just tell them what you want to see and they pay for it. hehehe. Love HONDA R&D.

Kristen, I love this place. I've been stopping regularly for a while, not writing much.

The pictures and comments about cemeteries bring to mind the shrine? memorial? for dead children that is along the walk from the Shiba Park Hotel to the Tokyo Tower. ( How's that for directions from a gaigin?) The people in my group when we were there in 2000 were fascinated and saddened at the same time.

In 1994 one of my hosts in the Yamagata region stopped at a cemetery and explained the Japanese burial customs. I had seen one cemetery that was surrounded by rice paddy on three sides, and a highway on the fourth. Later in 2000 another host who had recently lost his sister showed me his family plot and a lot more about the temples and the shrines.

Strange thing... Today is the first anniversary of the death of my nephew, who died a couple of months past his sixteenth birthday. It has been a heavy, sad day.

That you would be writing about cemeteries on this day is an interesting "coincidence." It is really amazing how we are spoken to when we stop to listen.

Your photos are really peaceful. The weight of my sadness has lifted a bit, and I am remembering my playful, bright nephew.

I sit here with tears on my face and am somehow homesick for a place I have only visited a couple of times. Thanks for your blog and the photos.

chuck

That's a great picture of the Aoyama cemetery.
I'm a peruvian architecture student who's doing a thesis project on Urban cemeteries, and i'm just beginning to look into Japanese ones.
So may i ask a question? How deep in the city is exactly this cemetery? Was it a peripherical one which was eventually assimilated by the growing city, or was it conceived inside Tokyo itself? If anyone could shed some light into this issue, id' be really grateful. so thanks ^_^

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Recent Comments

  • Al: That's a great picture of the Aoyama cemetery. I'm a read more
  • chuck: Kristen, I love this place. I've been stopping regularly for read more
  • Paul: Oups, was so into it that I forgot the context. read more
  • Jason Cha: Kuri-san, Dang I was going to post on that graveyard!! read more
  • Tracey: I can't email you!! Everything has bouced for the last read more
  • Kuri: Paul, what happens on Wednesday? read more
  • paul: i love cemeteries too, that s one of my best read more
  • gomichild: My Mum has a thing for cemeteries...almost every school holidays read more
  • Tracey: I have a thing for cemeteries as well. In Japan read more

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