In the summer of 2015, I set out from New York to travel my home country.

The Japan I saw was full of contradictions: ancient and modern, Western and Eastern, democratic and feudal, peaceful and anarchic, sacred and profane, anonymous and unique.

The country’s character is complex: it is charming, but not without its troubles. Opposing forces create dynamic tensions that drive you crazy and yet also keep you going.

“Going where?” I don’t know. But the country is forever moving forward, and my job is to document its endlessly fascinating paradoxes.

—Hiroyuki Ito

Editor’s Note: Hiroyuki Ito’s photographs will be shown at the Angkor Photography Festival and Workshops, which will run from December 3 to December 10, 2016 in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Roughly once per week in the lead-up to the festival, LensCulture will feature a different part of the Festival’s program. If you missed our previous features, you can find them all through the festival’s LensCulture profile.