Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is a must-visit destination for tourists in Tokyo. From the temple and the nearby sensoji shrine, five-story pagoda to the Sensoji market and night illumination, it is worth a visit during both day and night time. Without hesitation, let's see how to enjoy Sensoji.
Top 5 attractions of Sensoji Temple
Sensoji is Tokyo's most famous and popular temple. Built in the 7th century, it is also the oldest temple in the capital. Every year it attracts about 30 million visitors, both domestic and international. We will introduce five attractions of Sensoji Temple.
1.Kaminarimon：The Symbol of Asakusa
Kaminarimon, or the "Thunder Gate" is the outer of the two entrance gates to Sensoji. With a huge red lantern hung in the center, Kaminarimon is an iconic symbol of Asakusa. It is always crowded by numerous tourists for a memorial photo shoot. The statues of Fuji (wind god) and Raijin (thunder god) are standing at the left and right side of the gate. It is no doubt that every will be overwhelmed by its powerful presence.
The gate following Kaminarimon is called Hozomon where treasures of Asakusa Temple are housed in the hall ahead of this gate. A pair of Nio statues are standing on the front side. On the rear side are two enormous waraji (straw sandals). They are said to scare away evil, serving as the guardian of the temple.
3.The main hall
Pass through the Hozomon Gate we will see Kannondo, the main hall of Sensoji. It enshrines a golden image of Kannon (the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) which is said to be discovered by fisherman brothers in the 7th century.
4.Big incense burner
In front of the main hall is a large incense burner. Its smoke is believed to bestow good health. Therefore, a lot of people will stand in front of the burner and wave the smoke towards them as a form of purification.
5.Omikuji paper fortune
After visiting the main hall, let’s try drawing an Omikuji paper fortune. Different from fortune-telling, Omikuji is the message from the Goddess, Kannon. There are bars numbered from 1 to 100 put inside a wooden box. Shake the box to pick up a bar and receive the paper with the same number on the bar. The paper will tell you your fortune.
On the right of the main hall of Sensoji Temple is the Asakusa Shrine. The shrine was built in memory of these three men: two fishermen brothers picked up the statue of the Kannon of Sensoji Temple, and a monk consecrated it.
Their bodies are worshiped here as Sanja Gongen. Therefore, the shrine is often called Sanja-sama or Sanja Gongen. Its festival “Sanja Matsuri” is held in May every year and is one of the of the Three Great Festivals of Edo. It is well known for the “soul swing”, which refers to the fierce shaking of the portable shrines during the parade.
To the left of the Hozomon Gate is a five-story, 53-meter high pagoda, the second highest in Japan. The pagoda was originally built in 942 and the current architecture is a 1973 reconstruction. Some of Buddha's ashes are reputedly to be stored on the top floor. Although it is not allowed to enter the pagoda, its magnificent structure is worth seeing and taking pictures.
After passing through the Kaminarimon Gate and moving towards Hozomon Gate, you will enter a bustling street of nearly 90 shops. This is the famous Nakamise market continuing from several centuries ago. You can find a lot of typical Japanese souvenirs and traditional local snacks here.
Sensoji Temple at Night
Did you know that Sensoji Temple can be visited after sunset? Without the hustle and bustle during the daytime, the quiet and calm atmosphere of Sensoji Temple at night gives is a very different impression. The light up from sunset to 11:00 PM is very splendid; whether the main hall or the gate and pagoda are picturesque when lit up.
- Name: Sensoji Temple
- Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo
- Opening hours: Main hall: 6:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March); Temple grounds: Always open
- Admission: Free
- Access: 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station, on Tsukuba Express Line, Tobu Skytree Line, Toei Asakusa Line or Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.