Asakusa is a district in Tokyo that is best known for Senso-Ji, a temple featuring magnificent gates and giant lanterns. Founded in 628, Senso-Ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo and is dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The vibrant structures have become a symbol of Japan, attracting visitors from all over the world. As a result, the area has developed quite the tourism infrastructure with plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels.
Arriving at Asakusa Station, I start making the short walk towards Senso-Ji Temple. Within one minute, I’ve already come within view of Kaminarimon Gate. The black, white and red lantern seems much bigger in person, pictures cannot simply do it justice! Speaking of which, here are a couple photographs I took of Kaminarimon Gate:
Proceeding through Kaminarimon Gate, I was greeted by large rows of shops. These stores are directed towards tourists and present an excellent opportunity to pick up some cheap souvenirs. I bought a handful of daruma, small figures that allow the owner to colour in one eye while simultaneously making a wish. If your wish comes true, the second eye is supposed to be filled in. The smaller daruma are affordable gifts that your friends will absolutely love!
I start to approach Hozomon Gate, which is much bigger than the aforementioned Kaminarimon. This ornate structure is the entrance to the inner complex of Senso-Ji. The smell of incense and smoke fill the air as I cross underneath the gigantic lantern. It’s now easy to see why this temple has become so famous, a combination of vibrant colours, beautiful architecture and a little smoke inhalation go a long way!
Continuing on, I decide to get a paper fortune. The process begins with placing a 100 yen coin in the collection box and then shaking a metal canister until a wooden dowel falls out the end. This stick will have script that indicates which drawer holds your fortune. I am hoping for some good luck but end up getting the complete opposite with “No.77 Bad Fortune”. Hoping to reverse my fate, I buy some incense and waft the smoke over myself, a process that is supposed to heal and cleanse.
A sudden change in wind blows all the smoke in my direction leaving me temporarily blinded. I look for a place to sit and regroup before I go to pray in the temple. Walking around the grounds with partial vision, I stumble across some interesting buildings and statues. Eventually, I make my way back to the temple and practice my praying technique. Throwing some coins into the offering box, I clap twice and bow deeply.
Having seen and accomplished everything I wanted to do in Senso-Ji Temple, my next goal is to find some good soba. After selecting a good looking restaurant, I sit down and look at all the pictures I had taken in Asakusa. The beautiful structures are breathtaking and that feeling is reflected in my photographs. Asakusa was amazing and I can only hope that I’ll be fortunate enough to go back one day!
Thanks for taking my picture tour of Senso-Ji Temple and be sure to check out my Japan Travel Guide and Tokyo City Guide.