Shinjuku Photo Drift: Hanazono Shrine

A peaceful Shinto shrine in the nightlife heart of Shinjuku

Hanazono Shrine
Hanazono Shrine

Not the most likely location, maybe, but one of Tokyo’s major Shinto shrines lies at the end of either of two nondescript paths. The name Hanazono means “flower garden”, so you can think of this jinja, “shrine”, as a secret garden just outside the Golden Gai and Kabukicho nightlife neighbourhoods of northeast Shinjuku.

Apparently the shrine comes alive several times a year, including the Grand Festival in late May, and Sundays for flea markets.

The rest of the time, during the day at least, the shrine’s grounds make for a quiet retreat from Shinjuku’s bustle. Leastways, it felt that way when I visited the other day, during a welcome break from Tokyo’s August heat wave.

I took the pictures posted here with my (new!) Olympus e-p5 digital camera and M.Zuiko 18mm f/1.8 lens – a pretty sweet combination, I must say! The new electronic viewfinder really makes a big difference, especially for someone such as I who really has a hard time seeing screens in bright sunlight. I shot the stills in RAW and, after applying lens corrections in Lightroom 5, also added my usual tweaks including vignettes, exposure adjustments, and one or two other light treatments – my usual secret ingredients!


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