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Asakusa is one of the more popular districts of Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. Although once an entertainment district much like Shinjuku is today, Asakusa is now perhaps most famous for its Buddhist shrine, the Sensoji Temple. There are many temples and shrines in this part of Tokyo, and this means there will always be a Shinto festival organised at regular intervals during the year for worshippers to pray to Bodhisattva Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy).
One thing I was not expecting when I came to Asakusa was to discover that it was actually a district where traditional Geisha could be seen. Another thing I loved was the market stalls inside and outside the Sensoji Temple compounds, especially those selling Osenbei, chocolate bananas, and the famous melon pan!
Built in 645AD, Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and is located nearby the Sumida River. In fact, legend has it that two fishermen found a statue of Kannon in the Sumida River and even though they kept throwing the statue back in the water it always returned to this very place in Asakusa. Thus, the Sensoji Temple was built to honour this fact. You can see in the photo above (and below) the Kaminarimon Gate and the huge chochin lantern hanging beneath it. This is the main entrance to the Sensoji Temple, where after a narrow street with souvenir stalls and vendors called Nakamise will lead you to the temple’s second gate, known as the Hozomon Gate. Beyond this is the temple’s main hall and the five-storied pagoda.
I thought the five storied pagoda was the most photogenic part of the Sensoji Temple complex. I got some good photos of it in the clear Spring skies. It was also impressive to stand inside the main hall. I had been to the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo and the main hall there was somewhat underwhelming, but here at Sensoji there was a real atmosphere and I think the other visitors around me felt the same. I regret that I did not take any photos of the interior, which can be a sign that I was too engrossed with that I was looking at with my own eyes!
The featured image in this article is courtesy of Tokyo Bling.