Sensō-ji Spirit

Sensō-ji in Tokyo’s beautiful Asakusa is one of my favourite temples and areas to visit, so I thought it deserved a photo-diary and post of its own. I took several hundred photos there, and will share with you 80 on a virtual tour we will now take – let’s gogogo!

Tokyo ’13 Photo-diary Part 3, Sensō-ji:

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we’ve come out of Tokyo Metro’s Asakusa Station on the Ginza Line – welcome to Asakusa!
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a few minutes walk down Edo Dori/Street
the entrance to Sensō-ji Temple
the entrance to Sensō-ji Temple – Kaminari-mon Gate

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Nakamise Dori/Street
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view in front, view in back
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let the sensory and cultural feast begin!

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getting closer
getting closer

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very close now
very close now

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Hozomon Gate
Hozomon Gate

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please excuse my crazy flying hair
please excuse my crazy flying hair

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wave incense over yourself
wave incense over yourself
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have a sip (there is a certain process of cleaning, filling and drinking with the ladle that I am yet to learn)
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and finally, the temple itself

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looking back from the temple doors

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the temple ceiling

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heading back now
heading back now

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It was a blindingly bright day with strong winds picking up later in the day (many photos I took looked vividly contrasted so I tried to adjust the brightness and contrast so your eyes don’t burn), and the atmosphere was light and cheerful. Sensō-ji and Nakamise Dori were bustling with people of all ages and groups – all chattering, smiling, taking photographs, and making memories. The stalls that lined the long street down to the temple extending from the front gate to the second sold all kinds of souvenirs and traditional Japanese items. Everything from yukatas to hashi/chopsticks is available, and I wouldn’t call it a tourist trap because they weren’t completely aimed at tourists and the prices were reasonable – perfect for gift shopping for those who aren’t travelling with you! An assortment of freshly-made food and snacks were also popular and my mother and I stopped by more than a few to sample and buy their delectable goods :3

This temple is nowhere near as peaceful as other temples and shrines, but the traditional and market vibe of the place is somehow freeing and relaxing. It is the oldest temple in Tokyo after all, built in the 600’s, and even Nakamise Dori represents centuries of business and cultural tradition. The view of Hozomon Gate slowly growing over the heads of the crowd, the Buddhist and dragon murals painted on the temple ceiling, the elaborately and colourfully decorated temple stage decor, the sight from the front doors of the temple as you look back on the courtyard between it and Hozomon Gate, the bright reds and light wood browns.. so beautiful. It was also nice because many people, if not most, seemed to be there alone for worship. It didn’t feel “touristy” at all.

I’d recommend you to take a couple of hours at least to wander up and back from Sensō-ji at a leisurely pace, taking photos, shopping/eye-shopping and taste-testing as you go. Oh and please do yourself a favour (+ adventure) and find the handmade senbei/rice cracker shop and taiyaki/fish-shaped dessert shop pictured above – they are truly the BEST I have ever tried. We bought more than enough for both of us but ohhhh I regret not buying more. The senbei store sells a variety of flavoured senbei and in various boxes, packs or singles – all handmade and ready to try before you buy but every single flavour was perfect. The taiyaki shop had the fluffiest bread/cake and the most generous, true-to-name-tasting fillings – I am actually drooling a little thinking about the sweet potato one.. and the chestnut one.. and the azuki/red bean and custard cream ones..! Both stores aren’t on the main Nakamise strip – the senbei store is nearby though, and the taiyaki shop is in a small indoor arcade near the area.

Good luck! Hope you enjoyed this post~ ^^

About Asakusa and Sensō-ji:

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