Adventures in East Asia

The Imposing Senso-ji and Fortune Dispensing at Asakusa

Senso-ji (Senso Temple) is an ancient Buddhist temple in Asakusa, located at the northern end of the Nakamise-dori shopping arcade. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant.


It's easily the most imposing structure (apart from the taller five-storey pagoda close by) in the area we saw.


With the Shinto shrine, the Asakusa-jinja, being right next door, this illustrates the comfortable coexistence of Japan's two major religions.

Senso-ji enshrines a golden statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and so dragon spouts and a trough of water are available near the main entrance to allow visitors to cleanse themselves.


There was a massive offerings box in front of the shrine and so as with standard practise, most visitors were arriving at Senso-ji to toss a coin in, pray and then bow to the altar before backing away.


Quite a crowd had gathered in front of the altar and some ambitious visitors were actually throwing their coins over the the crowd, aiming at the offerings box. The box was quite large, so luckily, we witnessed a 100% success rate.

Senso-ji also sold fortunes, and we saw visitors collect theirs after paying the attendant, by shaking these metal cylinders below to extract a numbered stick. The number corresponded to a drawer from which visitors would take out a slip of paper.


See more of Senso-ji in the video below:

More photos of Senso-ji on Flickr

Information on Senso-ji on Wikipedia

This entry posted in : Events. History. Japan. Tourism.

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