In the askakusa temple complex, you enter via the thunder gate or Kanarimaron then on the Nakamise Shopping Street then to the Hozomon or Treasure House gate and finally to the Sensoji Temple itself. The Hozomon gate features three large lanterns. The largest and most prominent lantern is a red chōchin that hangs under the center of the gate's opening. With a height of 3.75 m, a diameter of 2.7 m and a weight of 400 kg, the lantern displays the name of the town Funamachi. The current iteration of the lantern dates back to 2003 when ¥5 million was donated by the people of Funamachi. On either side of the chōchin hangs two 2.75 metre-tall copper tōrō weighing approximately 1000 kg each. All three lanterns are completely removed during festivals such as Sanja Matsuri.
Sensô-ji is the focus of Tokyo's largest and most popular matsuri (Shinto festival), Sanja Matsuri. This takes place over 3–4 days in late spring, and sees the surrounding streets closed to traffic from dawn until late evening and here you can see the dichotomy of buddhism and shinto in japan since there is a nearby shinto shrine beside the sensoji temple called the Nishinomiya Inari Shrine. This Buddhist temple as the legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon (also known as kuan yin in chinese), the buddhist goddess of mercy in east asia, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built there for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple. As you can see in my pictures, Sensoji's main hall is currently under renovation and covered by scaffolding. The works are scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2010. The temple can still be visited.
the famouse Nakamise Shopping Street in Asakusa that leads to the Sensoji Temple, this street is a 250 meter long shopping arcade can be a shoppers haven or a tourist trap, depending on the person who will do the shopping and buying here. Nakamise was first formed around 1685 when the 12 subsidiary temples belonging to the Senso-ji Temple that lined both sides of the street were permitted to put out souvenir stalls in front of local houses in exchange for a promise by local residents to keep the area clean. It began to be called Nakamise (“inner shopping street”) because it is located between the shops of Kannondo-mae and the Asakusa-Hirokoji path. In May 1885 the government of Tokyo ordered all shop owners to leave. In December of that same year the area was reconstructed in Western-style brick. During the 1923 Great Kantô earthquake many of the shops were destroyed. They were rebuilt in 1925 using concrete, but destroyed again during the bombings of World War II. Today again it is a famous shopping area that offers souvenirs ranging from fans, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), kimono and other robes, Buddhist scrolls, traditional sweets, to Godzilla toys, t-shirts, and cell-phone straps. These shops themselves are part of a living tradition of selling to pilgrims who walked to Sensô-ji.
these rickshaws are popular means of touring around the asakusa area and the tour includes the asakusa shrine, nakamise shopping street, sumida river facing asakusa and other places in asakusa. The ride is a large attraction to tourists and people who don't want to walk hehehe. If you're the one who doesn't want to walk then you can consider a guided tour on a rickshaw (jinrikisha, lit. "man powered vehicle"). A 30 minute tour for two persons costs around 8000 Yen. Shorter and longer courses are also available but again the average is 30 minutes.
the main gate leading to the Asakusa Shrine. Kaminarimon is the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple. First built more than 1000 years ago, it is the symbol of Asakusa. Four statues are housed in the Kaminarimon. On the front of the gate, the statues of the Shinto gods Fûjin and Raijin are displayed. Fûjin, the god of wind, is located on the east side of the gate, while Raijin, the god of thunder and lightning, is located on the west side. Two additional statues stand on the reverse of the gate: the Buddhist god Tenryû on the east, and the goddess Kinryû on the west side. In the center of the Kaminarimon, under the gate, hangs a giant red chôchin (or Japanese Lantern) that is 4 meters tall, 3.4 meters in circumference and weighs 670 kilograms.
The Sensō-ji Temple is the biggest attraction in Asakusa. The Buddhist temple was beautiful and amazing. You can get a fortune and tie it on a wire for good fortune. The place was crowded with people and there were many statues, shrines and pagodas. The surround area also had good a-la-carte places to eat and plenty of shops for souvenirs.
The Asakusa Kannon Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo.
According to the legend, two fishermen during the 7th century got to find a statue of Kannon (which is supposed to be the buddhist goddes of mercy) in their net. The first temple seems to be built to host this statue.
The temple has been rebuilt and made bigger many times during the years.
In my opinion the most impressive part is the pagoda, specially when lighted during the night time.
The bad side, is the market all around the temple, it gives it a total not religious atmosphear.
Asakusa is the area where you can still feel the ancient times of Tokyo. Besides the temples which will be covered in my other tips, you can take a cruise in Sumida river, walk around Kappabashi area for Japanese dishes, ceramics, iron tea kettles and many more. Nakamise Dori is a shopping street full of stalls where you can get souvenirs and you reach Senso-ji temple at the end of it. In Asakusa, you enjoy both the history and shopping.
If Tokyo is your only Japanese destination, you really must see the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. But even if you are going on to other Japanese cities like Kyoto and Nara, Sensoji still has its charms. As Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji has that feeling of old Japan that is hard to capture in 21st century Tokyo, but it also has a bustling of energy that I've seen at few temples anywhere in Japan. Sure, it is visited by lots of tourists, but many of these visitors are local Buddhists themselves, going through the rituals of their religion. These include rubbing smoke on your body, washing your hands and clapping ceremoniously. Plus, it is one of the few temples that I've been to that have extensive shopping stalls on the grounds, where you can by souvenirs for yourself, your friends or your dogs (see my shopping tip). Additionally, if you want to spend around Y8000, you can get a rickshaw ride around the temple and the ajoining old beighborhood.
Okay, maybe that's a little steep. But the area around the temple is also speckled with restaurants and shops of character. Asakusa should be on everyone's Tokyo itinerary!
Nakamise is said to be one of the oldest shopping centers in Japan.
It started during Edo period when many visitors started visiting Sensoji temple.
In 1688 - 1735, those neighbors who performed receiving and serving visitors in Sensoji Temple were given special right to open their shops in the approach to the temple. This was said to be the beginning of Nakamise.
Kaminarimon (Thunder gate) marks the start of Nakamise-dori, and about 200m another gate called Hozomon (Treasure house gate) marks the end of it.
After Hozomon you can find Sensoji temple.
This street is a very crowded place during the day, but at night, you can see some nice grafiti at the shops' gate.
This is the oldest temple in Tokyo and one of the most significant.
Sensoji is a Buddhist temple dedicated to Kannon (Goddess of Mercy).
The legend has it that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon out of the Sumida River. Thus, Sensoji was built there and was completed in 645, to honor her.
Upon entering the temple, visitors may pass by Kaminarimon (Thunder gate, also the symbol of Asakusa), continued by a long rows of shops called Nakamise-dori and finally Hozomon (Treasure house gate).
You can find lots of souvenirs sold along Nakamise-dori.
There's also a shinto shrine nearby called Asakusa Shrine which was build by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1649.
Not far from Kaminarimon the outer gate of the Sensoji Temple are rickshaw drivers on the look out for tourists who want a ride. They will call out to you the tourists for attention.
If you got plenty of spare cash go for a ride around the block with Japanese Jinrikisha pull by rickshaw drivers. We didn’t go because it was expensive for us, I think it was 500yen.
Asakusa is the only place in Japan where you can get a rickshaw ride.
Nakamise-dori is the main street approach to the temple. It is said to have come about in the early 18th century. The length of the street is approximately 250 meters and contains around 89 shops. Today both sides of the streets they are many shops selling ranging from souvenirs, Edo-style crafts shop, kimono, t-shirt to Buddhist scrolls.
Also they are eating places serving Japanese traditional food. You can also cleanse yourself at the large urn burn with incense at the temple courtyard.
There are two gates, Hozomon is the main gate and Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) is the outer gate of the Sensoji and symbol of Asakusa.
Hanging at Kaminarimon Gate is a huge paper lantern outstandingly colored in red and black to represent thunder clouds and lightning.
The main hall building and five storied pagoda is close to the main gate Hozomon; and the Asakusa Shrine can be found close by the temple's main building.
Buddhist Temple Sensoji located in Asakusa is the oldest temple in Tokyo. It was completed in 645. There are two gates, Hozomon is the main gate and Kaminarimon with its giant chôchin is the outer gate of the Sensoji and symbol of Asakusa. Nakamise-dori is the main street leading from the Kaminarimon Gate to the temple.
The area has been built and rebuilt because of 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and WWII bombings.
Visitors from all over the world and as well Japanese tourist visit the temple.