Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo (Asakusa Kanon)
Updated: 6 days ago
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Senso-ji is Tokyo's oldest temple. It was built in 645 and it is a Buddhist Temple dedicated to Kannon, the Bodhisattva of mercy/compassion.
Located in the Asakusa District of Tokyo, it is only a five-minute walk from Asakusa Station, and another 20 minutes away from Tokyo Station on the Ginza Line.
Admission is free and the temple grounds are open all day, all year round.
The main hall is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from March to October and from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the rest of the year.
Before you reach the temple, you will go through two large gates - Kaminarimon and Hozomon, as well as a 'shopping street' located in between them.
I can't seem to find any of my pictures of the first (main) gate or the giant red lantern that hangs in the centre of it - and I'm taking this as a sign that I have to go back.
Nakamise-dori shopping street
Nakamise-dori is the street leading to the temple and it is packed with small shops selling souvenirs and street food. Have as many snacks as you desire (and as many as you can afford), as they're all delicious, but I would recommend doing the shopping after you've visited the temple. I'm not a big fan of carrying shopping bags while visiting any tourist attraction, especially if I plan on taking photos as well.
Hozomon Gate (Nio-mon)
This gate was originally built in 942, but the current reconstruction dates to 1964. Here, on each side of the gate, you can see two guardian deities of Buddha called Nio. On the other side of the statues, you can also see two huge straw sandals.
The Five-Story Pagoda
The Pagoda was initially built in 942, it burned to the ground during the Second World War and was rebuilt in 1973. The inside is not open to the public.
Main Hall (Kannondo)
The Main Hall was also destroyed during the Second World War and was rebuilt in 1958
I found the paintings, sculptures, lanterns, pretty much everything there to be impressive, so I would recommend going there a bit earlier in the day so you can avoid crowds and give yourself enough time to see and enjoy everything.
Koi Fish Pond and Stone Bridge
As you go past the Main Hall, to its left and towards the Yogodo Hall, you will see a beautiful stone bridge going over a Koi Fish Pond. Take your time and enjoy the view.
Statues and Shrines
There are a few more Halls, as well as Shrines and Statues on the temple grounds. There's quite a lot to see, so I would recommend you give yourself at least a couple of hours to explore everything.
While the entry is free, please bear in mind that you might spend some money on omikuji - fortune-telling paper strips, souvenirs and snacks since everything is highly tempting.
Have you ever been to Sensoji? If so, please let me know how it was for you, in the comments below.
I hope life is treating you well.