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Original Issue

Tokyo's Garden of Golf

Hard by an ancient Buddhist temple two miles from the middle of downtown Tokyo, the Japanese observe their newest religion: golf. As a result, the grounds of the Shiba Driving Range, a three-tiered structure designed to accommodate a land long on people but short on space, sometimes look as if every cherry blossom in Japan had fallen at once. With as many as 150 golfers simultaneously whacking away, the number of golf balls used reaches 300,000 during a peak day. The atmosphere around the sacred compound of Zojoji may not be as conducive to contemplation as it once was, but tee shots in the neighborhood certainly have improved.