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The Ultimate Secret Garden

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Behind the long, boring building mostly known for blocking views of the pagoda at Senso-ji is the secret garden of Denpo-in. Within those walls is a serene retreat used by the priests for meditation, closed to the public except for a few days each year. But if you’re in Tokyo right now, woo hoo, it’s your lucky day!

When you step through the gate, it’s like stepping into a parallel universe where the sun shines more brightly and the flowers bloom earlier – the azaleas have already burst into their full glory, and even the wisteria is starting to pop.  Be sure you scamper over there before May 7th, though, when the gates will swing closed again for another year and you’ll have to take vows in order to enjoy it!

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This garden isn’t huge, but it’s amazingly designed. Every turn in the path offers a different view!
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You can see the Senso-ji pagoda from across the pond.
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Azaleas already blazing away!
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Like I said.
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Now I know why the priests keep this one for themselves.
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Camellias.
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On the way out, the old and new make a special guest appearance together: pagoda and Skytree.

If you want to visit Denpo-in, it costs ¥300 and will be open until May 7th. If you’d like to visit Senso-ji the next time you’re in Tokyo, a map are on my travel website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“I don’t know when I’ve been more caught up in a story. A masterful achievement.” —Terry Shames, award-winning author of An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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