Senso-ji Temple is perhaps the most visited temple in Tokyo, Japan accounting its history and proximity. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, originally built in 645 AD, although most of its structures are rebuilts after a heavy destruction during World War II. Also famously called as Asakusa Kannon Temple, Senso-ji is located right in the heart of Asakusa, Taito district, most conveniently reached by train. This temple was founded to enshrine the statue of Kannon-Bosatsu or the Goddess of Mercy when it was caught by two fishermen in Sumida River.
Entering the path called Nakamise Dori that leads to the temple’s ground could be quite a challenge due to a dense crowd but you can feast your eyes on the hundreds of shops selling various items that lined the path. During our visit, hubby and I were accompanied by my Mom’s younger sister, Tita Mimi, who has been living in Japan for nearly 20 years and was an excellent guide during our visit especially with delicacy and cuisine choices.
After braving the Nakamise Dori, everyone is welcomed to the temple’s famous Sensoji’s Sanmon called Hozomon Gate, the gate that stands in front of the temple’s main hall. It is not your ordinary gate. It has compartments that consist of storerooms that hold Senso-ji’s treasures and Buddhist objects. There is also a giant O-Waraji or straw slipper that hangs on the side of the gate. It was made by 800 citizens of Murayama City in a month and was devoted to Sensoji to charm against bad spirits. A short distance from Hozomon Gate is where everyone do the custom of spreading smokes of incense over oneself, which is considered to purify, heal, and bring luck.
The main attraction at Senso-ji Temple is the Main Hall, the Kannondo Hall. Declared as a national treasure, it houses the secret Bodhisattava Kannon statue which is kept in the rear chamber, and the duplicate statue that is displayed at the front chamber. They are taken out for public viewing only on December 13 of every year.
Other attractions in the temple is the Five-story Pagoda, Asakusa Shrine,and some small shrines and Buddhas around Dembo-in and Garden.
What makes this visit special is my hubby and I’s rare chance to spend time with my Auntie. I was not as ecstatic as my other temple visits but I was feeling my moment. Who would have thought destiny will lead me here? One day in the future, we will look back and remember how lucky we are to be able to see the beauty of this country. For now, let me tie my shoe strings again and head to other beautiful sights. Where to next?
Check on Google Street View below for an additional information and perspective on Senso-ji Temple: