Red is the color most often associated with Shintō, believed to offer protection from illnesses and evil spirits.

Hidden away behind Yasukuni Dori, a stone’s throw away from Golden Gai and its many atmospheric bars, is Hanazono Shrine (花園神社), a pocket of stillness amid the tumult of Shinjuku.

Its origins date back to the 17th Century and the early years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, though the shrine has undergone many incarnations since that time. The current concrete structure that houses the main hall was built in 1965. The shrine complex has been freshly renovated and it is dazzling in its redness.