Thursday, December 4, 2014

Atago Shrine



Last weekend I had a shoot for a newborn Shinto baby blessing at Atago Shrine. It was a really cool experience to be able to participate in such an intimate event. I had never seen an actual ceremony take place inside any shrine before. There was a shinto priest, a priestess, the baby and parents, and a few close friends and family. The inside was so beautiful- there were so many decorations hanging from the ceiling, and lots of beautiful wood carvings. After the ceremony we took a lot of family portraits around the grounds which were really lovely. There was a big carved torii gate, a koi pond, some beautiful garden spots with huge stone lanterns, and several gorgeous traditional buildings with turning red maples grazing their shingles.

Afterwards, we decided to take the famous stairs we had heard about down the hill. This particular shrine is known for granting eternal love, so during holidays apparently it's quite common to see many single women climbing these long, steep steps up to the shrine. There is an escalator off to the side, and a much less steep switchback style staircase around the hill, but I guess the idea of labor and sacrifice strengthens the desire and the prayer for eternal love once at the top and in front of the prayer altar. Coming down the steps gave me some serious vertigo. I was clinging to the side rail the whole time, taking it obscenely slow, and feeling like my stomach was going to come out my mouth. The steps are reeeaaalllyyy steep. When you're at the top, you just feel like you're about to fall to your death. They must close these in the winter - I can't imagine how terrifying they would be with ice all over them.

I really liked what I was wearing that day, the light was perfect, and Ryan was with me helping out for the shoot, so it seemed like a silly thing to not snap a few photos really quick in front of the famous steps. When we moved to Japan I was really excited about the shapeless dress possibilities. It's a lot harder to find dresses that don't cinch at the waist in the states, and I've been craving more swing/ shapeless styles for years now with not much luck. I found this dress at a place called "Niko and..." and it's become one of my very favourite pieces and one of my favourite shops. They sell clothing and housewares- all really nice quality with a sort of rustic twist. The fabric they use always feel so so nice. I love going in just to touch everything- nice thick wools, canvas, denims, angora, wonderful knitwear, and always interesting silhouettes.




Dress: Niko and...
Leggings and socks: harajuku sock shop
loafers: vintage/thrifted


  1. love the view,
    and love your look as well

    visit mine,
    Miss Aa

  2. Oh these photos are so pretty and striking with your outfit! I absolutely love the first shot!

  3. "It's a lot harder to find dresses that don't cinch at the waist in the states" Understatement of the year! I yearn for shapeless clothing... ;(

  4. Oh my goodness, those stairs look terrifyingly steep! I would not want to descend them. But they are also so gorgeous, and the ceremony you got to photograph sounds so fascinating and beautiful!
    You wear shapeless so well; I'm glad you're finding clothes to your liking there! I especially love the pop of yellow at your feet.

  5. At first, I saw those stairs and thought nothing of them but then you got a vertigo from climbing down it. Is it not okay to climb up or down it and take breaks in the middle? Also, where is Atago shrine located exactly?

  6. So beautiful! The place, and love love your outfit! :) It definitely has that simple japanese perfection quality, I don't know how better describe it :) Happy for you for this photo shoot opportunity! Did you know the family? When I was in Japan I saw a wedding and the approach of their photographers that day to portraits looked very different, with people posing in strict positions, it was so interesting to watch. Oh! and that stairs, I could probably climb them up but could never ever look down after my terrible vertigo :)

  7. Japan really is heaven for perfect shapeless clothes in great fabrics. They make the cutest, most comfortable clothes, why are brands in the US and Europe so bad at this? I miss the shopping so much I've already been bugging David for another visit next year ha!
    Also Shinto shrines are the best!

  8. Beautiful photos - love your dress! I'm such a big fan of loose waist swing dresses even if my partner always tells me to put a belt on with it ;) will check out the niko and website xx

  9. Wow! Those stairs are amazing. They remind me of climbing the Temple of Kukulcan, which I did shortly before they closed it to the public. I went up on my hands and knees and slid down on my butt, though - would probably have to do the same here!

    That loose dress is prefect - the one pleat in the back is such a nice detail.

  10. Your magic is definitely coming back. Loving that first photo.

  11. Lovely outfit, especially the dress and shoes, well put together but relaxed at the same time :)
    Hannah x

  12. this outfit is AMAZING. I love that shapeless dress. I was able to find a similar one years ago at Uniqlo in NYC and it was my favorite dress until I lost it! I have no idea where it went but one day I couldnt find it anymore. sigh. anyhow, I love the contract of the grey dress with the mustard socks. you look so comfortable and cute.

  13. I meant to say the contrast. I should proof read. haha.

  14. Oh wow that seems like such a great experience, I love the photos here. That location is just beautiful <3

    The Quirky Queer

  15. What an amazing blog post. I have always wanted to go to one of these shrines and I love your posts around these gorgeous areas. Just discovered your blog and think I might be addicted now.

    Sarah Betty xx

  16. That shrine sounds like such a neat place to visit. How cool that you got to photograph that ceremony! I think it was a fantastic idea to get some shots of your outfit while you were there too. This dress looks incredibly comfortable and it's very cute on you too!

    Jamie |

  17. So cool ~ second photo, I though you braided your hair and it was longer!