Japan is a rich and complicated country. On my first visit, I discovered it has two faces.
It’s a dynamic, advanced, crowded urban society which functions at dizzying speed. But it’s also a serene nation deeply rooted in spirituality and belief. Japanese people cherish spaces to gather their thoughts.
Big cities including Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagano are bristling with Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, venerated sanctuaries from the stress of modern life.
Some revered spots, including the Instagrammable red torii gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha, have become incredibly popular with tourists which means you may have to look harder to find your inner peace.
Nature and the countryside are also rooted in the Japanese psyche, although I’ll have to visit again to see more of the country’s wild spaces. But I still found a sprinkling of Zen and captured these meditative moments from Japan…