Haunted Tokyo

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hokusaigrave.jpg
Hokusai's grave is specially protected with a roof.

Earlier this week, Tracey invited me to join her on a walking tour with a special theme - Haunted Tokyo. Just the right season for it and a lovely grey day to add to the atmosphere.

Lilly Fields, our tour guide, has lived in Tokyo for 25 years and knows her spooky back streets and alleys of shitamachi, those lower lying areas on the east side of town where the working folks traditionally live. Shitamachi is full of spirits and weird energy - ancient and new. We started the tour at Inaricho station and meandered through the blocks visiting temples and shrines and hearing legends and scary stories all the way up through to Asakusa.

I think my favorite bit of the afternoon was visiting the grave of Hokusai, one of Japan's most famous artists. It is tucked away down a narrow stone path in a postage stamp graveyard behind the side building of a really boring concrete temple. In addition to the famous wave woodblock print, Hokusai drew a lot of scary ghosts and demons. He believed that if he lived to 110, all of the lines and dots he drew would come alive. Fortunately for us, his demons live only on paper - he died at age 99.

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How cool to feel all that odd energy. An interesting story with Hokusai, too.

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  • Jennifer: How cool to feel all that odd energy. An interesting read more

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