The holidays are over and the year of the monkey is swinging into action. But it’s still very much the season for ritual: You can tell from the flow of worshipers heading into the wooded precincts of Meiji Jingu Shrine. In the face of such solemnity, the brash bustle of nearby Harajuku can feel crass and commercial. But there are pockets of serenity — you just have to know where to look.
In the case of Matsubara-an Keyaki, that direction is upward. From your table three floors above Omotesando you can look out at the tops of the keyaki (zelkova) trees that line the busy boulevard below. It is easy to forget you are a one-minute stroll from the shrine’s main gate and the visitors milling around the nearby railway station.
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