The Sensoji of Asakusa

My first stop in Tokyo, after Narita, was Sensoji, the Buddhist temple located in the busy district of Asakusa. When talking about Japan, we usually imagine a country where the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, the centuries-old temples and modern buildings, harmonically exist. At this temple, in one of the busiest places in metro Tokyo, you can understand why Tokyo has that reputation. Just one step out from the sacred atmosphere of the oldest temple in town, you immediately see the hassle and crowd of Tokyo.

The most famous and prominent temple in Tokyo, Senso-ji was founded in the 7th century, dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. In 628, 2 fishermen found a small statue of Kannon in the nearby Sumida river, and their village chief rebuilt his own house in Asakusa into a temple to enshrine the statue.

Now, the ground actually consists of a complex of spiritual, religious buildings. The biggest is of course Sensoji – the Buddhist temple, with its bell tower.

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View from inside the temple

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Many try to “collect” as much of the smoke to their faces as possible, believing it will bring good luck

Inside, rather “standard” decorations and statues that you’ll find in any Buddhist temple.

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Next to it is a Shinto shrine.

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As always, people from all over the world come here, writing their wishes on the little pieces of wood with hope they will come true. You can see all kinds of languages.

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The long street with souvenir shops and food stalls also attracts many tourists to explore.

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I would say Senso-ji doesn’t have the quietness and peace of a typical Buddhist temple. There are way too many tourists (as you can see how there are always people obnoxiously showing up in my photos), with so many commerce going on in the area. But within the restless and crowded Tokyo, to have a large enough place for the residents’ spiritual needs is enough to ask.

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