Theme Week Tokyo – Sensō-ji temple

Friday, 28 January 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© jreysp/cc-by-sa-4.0

© jreysp/cc-by-sa-4.0

Sensō-ji (Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a five-story pagoda, the Asakusa Shinto shrine, as well as many shops with traditional goods in the Nakamise-dōri. The Sensoji Kannon temple is dedicated to Kannon Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of compassion, and is the most widely visited spiritual site in the world with over 30 million visitors annually. The temple has a titanium tiled roof that maintains the historic image but is stronger and lighter.

The temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon (Avalokiteśvara). According to legend, a statue of the Kannon was found in the Sumida River in 628 AD by two fishermen, brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari. The chief of their village, Hajino Nakamoto, recognized the sanctity of the statue and enshrined it by remodeling his own house into a small temple in Asakusa so that the villagers could worship Kannon. The first temple was founded in 645 AD, which makes it the oldest temple in Tokyo. In the early years of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu designated Sensō-ji as tutelary temple of the Tokugawa clan. The Nishinomiya Inari shrine is located within the precincts of Sensō-ji and a torii identifies the entry into the hallowed ground of the shrine. A bronze plaque on the gateway structure lists those who contributed to the construction of the torii, which was erected in 1727 (Kyōhō 12, 11th month). During World War II, the temple was bombed and destroyed during the 10 March air raid on Tokyo. It was rebuilt later and is a symbol of rebirth and peace to the Japanese people. In the courtyard there is a tree that was hit by a bomb in the air raids, and it had regrown in the husk of the old tree and is a similar symbol to the temple itself.

© Øyvind Holmstad/cc-by-sa-4.0 Temple ground © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Eternal and life/cc-by-sa-4.0 Hōzōmon Gate © Daniel L. Lu/cc-by-sa-4.0 © jreysp/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kaminarimon Gate © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Hōzōmon Gate © Daniel L. Lu/cc-by-sa-4.0
Sensō-ji is the focus of Tokyo’s largest and most popular festival, Sanja Matsuri. This takes place over 3–4 days in late spring, and sees the surrounding streets closed to traffic from dawn until late evening. Dominating the entrance to the temple is the Kaminarimon or “Thunder Gate”. This imposing Buddhist structure features a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning. Beyond the Kaminarimon is Nakamise-dori with its shops, followed by the Hōzōmon or “Treasure House Gate” which provides the entrance to the inner complex. Within the precincts stand a stately five-story pagoda and the main hall, devoted to Kannon. Many tourists, both Japanese and from abroad, visit Sensō-ji every year. Catering to the visiting crowds, the surrounding area has many traditional shops and eating places that feature traditional dishes (hand-made noodles, sushi, tempura, etc.). Nakamise-Dori, the street leading from the Thunder Gate to the temple itself, is lined with small shops selling souvenirs ranging from fans, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), kimono and other robes, Buddhist scrolls, traditional sweets, to Godzilla toys, t-shirts and mobile phone straps. These shops themselves are part of a living tradition of selling to pilgrims who walked to Sensō-ji. Within the temple itself, and also at many places on its approach, there are o-mikuji stalls. For a suggested donation of 100 yen, visitors may consult the oracle and divine answers to their questions. Querents shake labelled sticks from enclosed metal containers and read the corresponding answers they retrieve from one of 100 possible drawers. Within the temple is a quiet contemplative garden kept in the distinctive Japanese style.

The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate”) is the outer of two large entrance gates that ultimately leads to the Sensō-ji (the inner being the Hōzōmon) in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. The gate, with its lantern and statues, is popular with tourists. It stands 11.7 metres (38 ft) tall, 11.4 metres (37 ft) wide and covers an area of 69.3 square metres (746 sq ft). The first gate was built in 941, but the current gate dates from 1960, after the previous gate was destroyed in a fire in 1865.

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Read more on Sensō-ji, GoTokyo.org – Sensoji Temple and Wikipedia Sensō-ji. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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