Senso-Ji Temple is one of my favorite places in Tokyo, it has so much to offer, from traditional temples to shrines, amazing food to cute Japanese girls with Bathrobe(kind of comparatively light kimono)strolling around. If you visit in summer, check out the firework calendar to make sure you won’t miss this fabulous firework festival, an one-hour firework really does make an unforgettable memory.
How to Get to
Senso-ji is just a 5 minute walk from Asakusa Station on Tobu Isezaki Line, Tsukuba Express or Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.
- The Thunder Gate(Kaminarimon): The outer gate of the temple, very easy to recognize by the massive red paper lantern painted with black Japanese words “Thunder Gate(雷門)". And this famous lantern is 700 kg in weight.
- Nakamise-dori: My favorite about Senso-ji, it’s a long shopping street lined with small shops selling souvenirs and Japanese sweets. You will see this street right after you enter the Thunder Gate, pick up anything you like and pig out on the sweets there, you won’t be disappointed.
- The Main Temple Compound: Nakamise-dori leads to the main temple compound. Before entering Senso-ji, it’s custom for visitors to rub the smoke into their bodies to bring good health( You can observe how Japanese do at the large incense cauldron in front of the main temple). And there is chozuya basin served in front of the Buddhist temple(Senso ji is a Buddiha temple), where visitors could clean their hands according to the rite.
- The Hondo : The Hondo is the main hall of the temple, it’s a very interesting place to observe the locals giving their pray to the Kannon image, and there are a lots more to see in this historical old temple, the funniest part about sense-ji is the fortune teller(omikuji) stand, the English guide on the fortune teller table shows you everything, you will have your own fortune told on a piece of paper, if you receive a bad fortune, tie your paper on the wire rack as others do , the monks in the temple will pray for you to remove the ill fortune, so everything turns out to be good.
- Locals: You will find visitors in Senso-ji mostly foreigners, but if you visit in the early morning, it’s pleased to see locals walking their dogs in the senjo-ji area, runners doing their morning exercise along the Nakamise-dori, and elders sitting under the trees talking to each others, if you are lucky enough, you will find painters coloring their canvas with a sense-ji, all those people around the sense-ji area make me like sense-ji more than it as a tourist spot.
Stores on Nakamise-dori open at around 8:00am and closed at around 6:00pm, visit around 9:00am or at dusk to beat the crowds.
I liked how Japanese design their restaurants, brick walls, wooden doors and a simple lantern, it looks just exotic.
So many cats on the street, they were having their break in this lovely morning.
A man bowed for the outer gate with a respectful attitude.
The rolling shutters were painted with Japanese culture faces.
Small lanes beside the main street looked cute.
Crows are everywhere in Tokyo except the bustling city center like Shinjuku or Ginza.
The incredibly huge straw sandal behind The Hozomon Gate, it’s a traditional custom to enshrine straw sandals to the temples or shrines to express your sincere to the god or ancestors.
Rub the smoke from the incense cauldron into your bodies can bring good health
A dog in the chozuya basin to relieve from the summer heat.
You can have a piece of paper of your luck from this fortune teller stand.
If you receive an ill fortune, tie the paper on the rack, the monks will chant to help you remove the bad luck.
If you have bought some Omamori(blessing charm), make sure to circle your charm in the smock of the incense cauldron to make the charm efficacious.
Elders sitting around the trees.
Asakusa shrine is just beside senso-ji with a 1 minute walk, where is to pray for god instead of to Buddiha.
Koma-inu:Lion-dogs statues which guard the entrance or the inner shrine of many japanese shinto shrines.
A pair of the lion dogs.
Ema (えま) : small wooden plaques provided by the shrine, visitors can write prayers or wishes and hang up at the shrine , and the kami (spirits or gods) will receive them. My favorite Japanese dessert throughout Tokyo, I bought this Kinako Dnago on Nakamise-doriKinako, it was rice balls tossed in sweet soy bean flour.
The stand offers green tea(Matcha) for free