Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple at a glance

Located in Asakusa, Sensoji is one of Tokyo’s most popular and impressive Buddhist temples. Legend has it that in 628 two men fishing in the Sumida River snagged a golden image of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, in their net. The image has been enshrined in the same spot ever since, though the temple around it has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. The current structure dates from 1950 when it was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Tokyo bombing of World War II.

If you approach the temple from Asakusa subway station, the first thing you will notice is the massive, red-lacquered gate marking the southern entrance. Kaminari-Mon, or ‘Thunder Gate’, supports two gods that guard over the temple – Raijin (Thunder) and Fujin (Wind).

After passing through the gate visitors will walk along Nakamise-Dori, where the streets are lined with small shops filled with everything from high quality traditional crafts to the sublimely gaudy trinkets sold in tourists spots around the world.

As you get closer to the temple grounds you will most likely be approached by a jinrikusha driver wanting to take your around the area. The prices are somewhere in the range of 1,500-2,000 yen per 10 minutes, depending on how long the ride is.

In front of Senso-ji there is a large bronze bowl where people place burning incense and purify themselves by wafting the smoke over their bodies.

In late spring, Sensoji hosts Tokyo’s largest festival, the Sanja Matsuri. Other events throughout the year include Hozuki Market in July, Asakusa Samba Carnival in August, Tokyo Jidai Matsuri in November, and Hagoita Market in December.