While out for a stroll in Ginza, he found a portal that seemed to take him not just to another place, but another timetwice.

Tokyo has close to 14 million people, so you could definitely call it crowded. Odds are you’ll enjoy your time in the city a lot more, though, if you think of it as dense.

It’s not just humanity that Tokyo is dense with, either. Having so many people in such a small area encourages them not to waste any space, so just about anywhere you choose to explore has something cool waiting for you to discover it. For example, Japanese Twitter user @R_Nikaido recently discovered what he calls “a door to another world” right in the middle of Ginza, one of Tokyo’s poshest downtown districts.

As the video starts, @R_Nikaido is out on the street in Ginza, with the blue afternoon sky above. He hangs a quick right and enters a building, walking along an interior hall until he turns to his right again and we see a nondescript blue door that looks like it’s a broom closet or something else mundane.

But then @R_Nikaido opens it…

…and steps through into a network of shadowy passageways. This strange new place looks more like the setting of a zombie horror film than one of Tokyo’s favorite neighborhoods for fine dining and brand-name fashion shopping.

It turns out these narrow alleys are the space between the backsides of buildings on the same block. With land at a premium, each of the buildings has filled up as much of their lot as they can, and the property borderlines, along which @R_Nikaido is walking, are the only spaces not taken up by the structures.

With only a sliver of visible sky and sunlight, it’s so dark that it feels like walking through the door not only whisked @R_Nikaido to an entirely different place, but also somehow turned day into night. It’s actually a little unsettling to see him continue down the path and come to multiple dead ends and locked gates, until he spins around again and seems to warp to yet another far-off location, one that looks like it’s in the distant past.

Suddenly, he’s standing in front of a Shinto shrine, with two fox spirit statues flanking a collection box. This is Toyoiwa Inari Shrine, and like other Inari shrines, it’s dedicated to Shinto’s god of commerce (as well as agriculture).

No one is quite sure when the shrine was originally founded, but as time went by and Ginza real estate became some of the most expensive not just in Japan, but in the world, the surrounding buildings got bigger and bigger. But Toyoiwa Inari has stuck around, and though it doesn’t boast the eye-catching tunnels of torii gates like its Kyoto relative Fushimi Inari Shrine, its concealed status gives it a charm and mystique all its own.

From there, @R_Nikaido follows the ethereal glow of the line of lanterns, which one again create the atmosphere of a lonely light, and after a few steps he’s back on the sunny street of a modern Japanese city.

So how do you get to Toyoiwa Inari Shrine? Well, at the very start of @R_Nikaido’s video, there’s a free-standing sign with black characters on a white background saying “Hanada Bijutsu” (花田美術), the name of a Ginza art dealer with a website and map here. And when he finally comes back to present-day from his interdimensional journey, he’s standing next to the restaurant Yasuko, which a map on its website as well.

▼ The pathway next to Yasuko also has a stone marker, with the shrine’s name in kanji, 豊岩稲荷神社, written on it in red characters.


With the blessing of prosperity Inari shrines are said to impart, perhaps it’s not so surprising to find one tucked away in one of Tokyo’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Still, moments of discovery like the one in @R_Nikaido’s video are what make Tokyo such an amazing city.

Shrine information
Toyiwa Inari Shrine / 豊岩稲荷神社
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 7-8-14

Source: Twitter/@R_Nikaido via Jin, Matcha
Images: Twitter/@R_Nikaido