Asakusa Kannon Temple

Asakusa Kannon Temple (also called Sensoji) is the oldest temple in Tokyo. Its history goes back to 7th century. The legend says that in 628 two local fishermen caught a tiny statue in their net while fishing in the nearby Sumida river. The head of their village recognized it as the image of Kannon, Goddess of mercy. So they built a temple to enshrine and worship the Kannon statue.

Since the foundation, the temple has attracted many people having faith in the Goddess of mercy and developed to one of the biggest temples around Edo. As the temple developed, a town serving the people coming there was formed around the temple. In late Tokugawa period as well as after Meiji restoration the area was the busiest downtown in Edo-Tokyo.

Compared to other big temples most of which are the heads of major Buddhist sects, Asakusa Kannnon temple is said to be folksy.

Kaminari-mon (Thunder gate) is the main entrance to the temple.
It was reconstructed in 1972 after long years since 1923
when the great earthquake destroyed the old gate building.
Although it seems like built of wood, it is a reinforced concrete building.

Getting through the Kaminari-mon, Nakamise-dori, the lively 300-m long arcade
is leading up to the Asakusa Kannon temple.
It is easy for you to get caught up in the rows of small shops
selling traditional Japanese items such as oiled paper umbrellas,
masks, fans, dolls, toys and Edo-styled wigs

Hozomon (Treasure house gate.) stands up at the end of Nakamise-dori.
Many events, temporary markets or local festivals, are held here
in front of the Hozomon.

The big lantern hanging from the ceiling of the gate is covered with letters
meaning the name of a town adherent to the temple.
The right is the five storied pagoda.

The main building enshrines the statue of the Kannon Goddess of mercy
which is said 5-cm tall.
People smoke over their bodies from the bronze incense burner before worship.
The smoke is believed to heal or prevent illness.

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