Shrines and Temples, Tokyo
KAMINARIMON (The Thunder Gate) is the main entrance of Senso-ji / Asakusa Kannon. With passing through this gate, you will walk along the approach with suvenir shops along it to the main temple.
Fondest memory: The kanji on the red lamp is written KAMINARIMON (Thunder Gate) in Japanese.
Above the red lamp, on the board is written KONRYUSAN (Golden Dragon Mountain).
A mountain when in a temple means the head quater.
There is a silly story. As you can see on the pic, the lamp is a little bit folded on the bottom of it. The lamp on the pic is renewed some last year. The investor was the local merchants society. They planned and ordered the new lamp bigger than it used to be as making a wish for the more prosperity of the town. But... when they changed the lamp to the new one... hanged it... they found that the lamp was too big so people can reach and hit on their head with the bottom of it when they pass under the gate. Too poor...
Ok, Zojo-ji is not too famous among travellers, but, see the pic, this may be what you visitors expect for Tokyo, right? Temple and the symbolic tower with the adorable cherry blossoms...
Come in the middle of April. You may view the SAKURA at its peak. Nowhere else in Japan has such a complete / complex view. It's perfect.
Fondest memory: Despite the fact that Yasukuni-jinja Shrine was built for memorial of those died for Meiji imperial restoration and later tose died in war, locals worship these spirits as "god" and posted up lotsa Wishing Boards. This is wishing World Peace however giving a support to the shrine's name which means "country at peace".
Annk choose this picture because it reflects the contrast of the old and traditional and the modern. It is a view form the main building of the complex denominated Kozoji. The buildings are the back are not the highest in Tokyo but the constrast is there...And Tokyo, and Japan is that:
Favorite thing: Aslyhan (with an accent in y) live is Istanbul, a visit that I dream with visiting, the melting pot of "all" cultures in the days of Suleyman. The main gate of a budhist temple is perhaps for her something different. Kozoji has this magnificent tall main gate, seen from inside, but it also has this beautiful pine in front of it.
The Yasukuni Shrine is not an outstanding shrine except for the fact that 2.5 million war heroes are enshrined there. Among those are also 14 war criminals from WWII. In the past prime minister Koizumi has visited the shrine several times and is everytime evoking hatred from Japan's neighbouring countries Korea and China. This is the major reason for its fame.
How to get there: Take the Tôzai or Hanzomon subway line to Kudanshita station.
I pay a visit this shrine once a year with my wife since I got married.
It has a huge precinct with woods and the long approach to the main shrine. You will forget you are in the center of Tokyo in the walk through the approach.
Fondest memory: Japan's most controversial shrine. Class-A war criminals of World War II are enshrined here. Despite of objections from other countries, Japanese politicians still make a habit to visit the Shrine on the anniversary of Japan's World War II defeat.
Favorite thing: And here is another beautiful contrast between tradition and modernity. A big budhist bell is under the traditional roof. Thousand of clerks were under the new building roof. It should be for them that the bell tolls...
The lucky charms in Japan can usually only be obtained at the shrines.
They are usually categorized by the area of your wish such as “prosperous business”, “successful study”, “well-being of family”, "ward of evil" “fulfillment of love or wish for finding a partner”, etc.
The small shrine in Ueno park charges 700 yen per charm whereas the bigger shrines like Meiji-Jingu Shrine charges 800 yen per charm.
I was fascinated by how they look and i was touching each one of them but I later regretted it coz I think they didn't like me touching so many of the charms. I accidentally dropped one of the charms and put it back hastily and the lady quickly took the charm that I dropped, went to the back, did some cleansing ritual on it (I think) and put it back on the display. She wasn't smiling.
I felt bad... but oh well... I didn't know!
This red charm in the picture was the the one I bought for my sister, she requested for it!
Nakamise-dori: This street have shops which will enchant you with their traditional arts & crafts as obi sashes, fans, dolls & kimonos.
A fascinating place :)
Fondest memory: Every visit to Tokyo warrants a visit to Asakusa; this is where I get my supply of souvenirs. Love the kimono-style housecoats sold in these little shops. Pricing is quite reasonable here; so have no worry!
Take a stroll & experience Shintoism in the most important Shinto shrine in Tokyo, MEIJI JINGU (IMPERIAL SHRINE) (1920). This is where the Emperor Meiji (reigned 1868-1912) & Empress Soken are enshrined.
SHINTO is Japan's oldest religion.
State religion from 1870s-1940s.
Core concept: Deities (kami) preside over all things (including dead & inanimate) in nature & are worshiped at shrines (jinja) erected all over Japan, be it on the hills or along waysides.
Rituals & habits originating from Shinto: purification & austere aesthetic.
Torii: Icon of Shinto. Gateway to the sacred precincts of the shrine.
Getting There: Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line).
Open Daily: Mar-May, Jul-Oct: 9 am - 4.30 pm; Jun: 8 am - 5 pm; Nov-Feb: 9 am - 4 pm.
Fondest memory: Walking under the canopy of cedars which leads into the shrine grounds is a very pleasant experience. The tranquility experienced here makes one forget that this is right in the center of one of the most dynamic cities in the world!
The are many wooden torii & the most impressive is one that the Japanese calls Otorii which was built in 1975 from huge logs that came from a 1500-year-old Japanese cypress on Mt. Tandai in Taiwan!
Favorite thing: Buy yourself good-luck charms (omamori). These charms are sold everywhere at shrines across Japan & common themes relating to good luck in examinations, general health, fertility & safe driving. Charms are written on paper & tucked into the cloth bag which are then worn next to the body.
Explore ASAKUSA: Famous for its SENSO-JI Temple (also known as KANNON-DO Temple) this is one temple you will always remember, especially for the street of shops lining behind the temple. This is where you'd like to stock up all the souvenirs for friends and loved ones before leaving Japan.
Getting There: Asakusa Station (Ginza & Toei-Asakusa Lines).
Tel: (03) 3842 0181.
Open Daily: 6 am - 5 pm.
Fondest memory: Pictured: Asakusa Jinja - Shrine built in 1649 dedicated to the men who found the Kannon statue.
A good example of shrine not far from the centre, in Asakusa. At the Outer Tori (Gateway) is a long market (selling the usual tourist stuff and a few more interesting articles) along the path leading to the inner tori. Besides the main temple, there are many smaller ones, as well as gardens and other things.
Get There: Take the Toei Asakusa or the Ginza subway line to Asakusa station.