South of the Border, West of the Sun places

December 10, 2014 By mk

Pictures of the places possibly appeared or mentioned in the novels of Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun.

She and I went to take a walk in Hibiya Park, where we had some coffee. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.5)

Hibiya Park, Chiyoda ward, Tokyo

Hibiya Park is close to the Imperial Castle and surrounded by government and business buildings. It is a good place for a first dating group as it is in the heart of the city with a high density of subway stations, and visitors may walkthrough from any of the nine gates and move out to the next venue when they like

I was in Shibuya, walking along in the end-of-year crowds, when I spied a woman dragging her leg exactly as Shimamoto used to do. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.6)

Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya ward, Tokyo

The crowds in Shibuya spread over the simultaneous pedestrian crosswalk all year round, but in the end-of-year, its crowd density is pretty remarkable

I was, myself swallowed up by the very same capitalist logic, savoring Schubert’s Winterreise as I lounged in my BMW, waiting for the signal to change at an intersection in ritzy Aoyama. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.7)

Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue, Kita-aoyama, Minato ward, Tokyo

The Aoyama boulevard, mentioned in many of Murakami’s works, makes a special impression with its view towards the Art forum, through the lines of shiny yellow ginkgo trees in late Autumn.

For ten days or so after the feature article with my name and photo appeared in Brutus, old acquaintances dropped by the bar to see me. Junior high and high school classmates. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.8)

Sendagaya, Shibuya ward, Tokyo

In 1980, Murakami appeared in the Brutus magazine as a jazz club owner. The article said, “Although he is becoming known as an author, his principal business is running a jazz club, Peter Cat”. In 1981, he sold the club and became a full-time author. The club is now an Italian cafe, Adone, after several changes of management.
(As of July 2020, a wine bistro, Amphora, locates this place)

“If it isn’t too cold, maybe we could take a picnic to Shinjuku Gyoen. Just us four girls. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.9)

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku ward, Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the three former imperial parks and now open to the public. Located close to busy Shinjuku station, the 58 ha (144 acres) garden provides the perfect backdrop for a picnic day all year round.

I merely nodded and reached out for her hand. At the corner of Aoyama 1-chome, she told me to stop the car, and I let her out. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.10)

Aoyama-itchome Stationn, Minami-Aoyama, Mitano ward, Tokyo

The Aoyama-itchome intersection is at Aoyama Blvd and Gaien Higashi Dori Ave where the Crown Prince’s residence is in one corner. The underground exit where the narrator of Hard Boiled Wonderland had got out from INKling lair is in one of the other corners.

The soloist was a famous South American pianist. I cleared my schedule and went with her to the conceit hall at Ueno Park. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.12)

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Ueno, Taito ward, Tokyo

The concert hall in Ueno Park is cited as one of the best sounding classical concert venues in Japan. With its proximity to the museums in the park, it is quite a conceivable place to go for the couple who loves music and the arts.

In my free time I listened to classical music and gazed out at Aoyama Cemetery…..Glass in hand, I’d look down at the darkened cemetery across the way and the headlights of the cars on the road. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.12)

Aoyama Cemetary, Minami Aoyama, Mitano ward, Tokyo

The Aoyama cemetery looks enchantingly dark surrounded by the city lights, where the clouds under the night sky are reflected.

On Wednesday afternoon of the same week, I was driving down Gaien Higashidori, when I spied a woman who resembled Shimamoto. …I finally found a place and managed to squeeze my car in, then I ran back to find her. But she was nowhere to be seen. … I ran up the pedestrian overpass and looked down on all the passersby below. ―Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ch.15)

Gaien Higashi Dori Ave, Minami-Aoyama, Minato ward, Tokyo

The possible pedestrian overpass in Gaien Higashi Dori Avenue may be in a minute away from the Aoyama Itchome intersection. To find a parking space could be hard to do on a Wednesday afternoon in the area where traffic policemen are frequently seen.