Away from Crowds and into the Nature in Tokyo─Todoroki Valley

essay, Aug. 2019

mao nakazawa

As you might know, Tokyo is full of people everywhere. Also, high and low buildings fill your eyes endlessly, just like the Saharan desert continues endlessly.

However, there is also a place like an oasis in the desert in Tokyo, too: Todoroki Valley.

I first learned about Todoroki Valley from a magazine, as it featured dating spots in Tokyo. When I first saw the pictures of the Valley, I thought, “Oh, a jungle in Tokyo!? ”

So, I immediately went to Todoroki Valley, not with my boyfriend but with my camera─as a photographer.

Once you step into Todoroki Valley, you will immediately notice that you are surrounded by fresh air. I felt as if my whole body would absorb them.

I was surprised that just below the big highway, there was such rich nature with soothing sounds of the river and leaves swaying in the wind─and it was also just 20 minutes away by train from Shibuya, one of the biggest city areas in Tokyo!

Walking along the river, I enjoyed its shining surface and inhaled the fresh air. Step by step, I felt as if I would become an explorer going into a jungle or an oasis in the desert.

Now I arrived at Todoroki Fudoson Temple. It was placed finally after I walked the way, so I felt now I reached the goal. I washed my hands with water and prayed (1). As I went there in March, the bright pink cherry blossoms called Kanhi-zakura were just blooming, as if they were the gifts for me from the God of Todoroki Fudoson Temple.

From the beginning in Todoroki Valley, I was just walking and feeling nature without thinking or expecting anything. It was like a meditation, and I went back to my natural self. At the same time, I noticed how much I was surrounded by people and information every day, which sometimes were totally unnecessary to me.

Tokyo is an exciting city full of energy, but if you are tired of it, take a rest and go back to yourself in Todoroki Valley!


1. Before praying at a shrine or temple in Japan, you should wash your hands and mouth with water to “purify” yourself at Chozuya or Temizuya. 

Its general method is as follows:
Hold Hishaku (a wooden ladle) with your right hand and get water.
Clean your left hand with water.
Hold Hishaku with your left hand and clean your right hand.
Hold Hishaku with your right hand again and pour water in your left hand.
Wash your mouth with water.
Clean your left hand again.

From Shibuya to Todoroki Valley:
Open Google Map

written by

mao nakazawa

Photographer and essayist. Born in 1988, Tokyo, Japan. Based in Tokyo.
I am updating my blogs "record of tokyo" with film photographs.
Feel free to contact me!

instagram: @_maonakazawa_
twitter: @_maonakazawa_

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