Thursday, 10 March 2011

Sensoji, Illuminated

Sensoji, located in Asakusa; often known in guide books as the Asakusa Kannon Temple, is the oldest and most popular temple in Tokyo. We visited the temple at night last year to enjoy its  illuminated glory. Read about that in my post : Sensoji's Illumination.
 The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). The outer of two large entrance gates that leads to Sensoji.
The Hozomon (Treasure House Gate), the inner gate leading towards Sensoji. 

Unlike the Kaminarimon, which houses four different statues, the Hozomon houses two identical statues that are located on either side of the gate's south face.
On the Hozomon's north (back) face are the "waraji"; two 4.5 m long, 1.5 m wide straw sandals that weigh 400 kg each.

The temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon (Guan Yin/Goddess of Mercy), and is derived from the bodhisatva Avalokitesvara that originates in India. 

Legend has it that the statue of the Kannon was found in the Sumida River in the year 628AD by two fishermen, brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari. Their village chief turn his own home into a shrine, and placed the statue there for the villagers to worship it. Soon the reputation of the Kannon spread throughout the country and devotees flocked to the temple to venerate the statue. The first temple was completed in 645, giving it the earliest date of a temple in Tokyo.
Within the precincts stand a stately five-story pagoda and the main hall, devoted to Kannon Bosatsu. Both the Five Story Pagoda and Sensoji Main Hall were built in 942 by military commander Taira no Kinmasa but they were destroyed by fire. In 1648, both structures were rebuilt by Tokugawa Iemitsu together with Hozomon.
Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, Sensoji became independent after World War II, when it burned down after a bombing raid. The reconstruction of the temple was funded by donations from the public. Though it mirrors the original style, the current building features a solid reinforced concrete structure with titanium roof tiles.
Sensoji Temple's Main Hall is right ahead after Hozomon. Occupying a ground of 1500 square-meter, the main hall consists of an inner sanctum laid with tatami mats and the outer sanctum - the concrete floor.


  1. It is a beautiful temple and one of the must see places in Tokyo.

  2. @Japan Australia,
    I agree. And for first timers to both Tokyo and Japan, I guess this is one of the most accessible temple for them to visit. With Nakamise-dori there, it's easy to buy souvenirs too. ^^

  3. a gorgeous temple with such a fascinating history.

  4. You did a good job of capturing the temple. It brings back a lot of memories.

  5. @LR,
    I find the history behind the temples I managed to visit there quite fascinating. :)

  6. @sixmats,
    Coming from you, I'm flattered. Thanks! :)

    Care to share your memories of the temple? ^^

  7. Wow at the enormous temple... looks pretty merit and crowded too!

  8. @Alice,
    It's way too crowded during the day. All the tourists and tour groups coming in buses loads.

    I like the crowd at night. They were much quieter and more solemn, looking and admiring the illumination.

  9. *_* So beautiful! Last time I was there it was under renovation.

  10. @Sarah,
    It should be finished by now, right? The renovation I mean. ^^

  11. You have seen so many places in Japan!
    I went to Japan like 13 years ago!
    Only stayed in Kansai area with my host families.
    It's a cultural exchange program between Singapore-Hiroshima.

  12. @London Caller,
    Not as many as we would like to! Most people tend to think we only visit Tokyo for the past 7 visits though. XD

    13 years ago? 1998? Lucky you! How long were you there?

  13. 2 minggu saja. Tak cukup lah...
    Tapi free. ;)
    Jadi tak boleh complain lah.

  14. @London Caller,]
    2weeks free experience in Japan. Not everyone gets the chance. I have actually started looking about the exchange program for secondary school students since my son was 6 YO! Talk about starting early. LOL

  15. Beautiful! I think I remember coming here during the day, but I had no idea of its history.

  16. Hi Lina! I finally get to update again!

  17. Asakusa is a nice place, many things to see there.

    I feel terrible about what happened to Japan, truly devastating.

  18. Ohhh, I went there back in the day...when they were mid-renovation. I definitely have to go back and check it out properly. ^^;

  19. It is so beautiful. I hope it is not damaged by the great earthquake and tsunami.

  20. You know what earthquakes do happen in Britain too.
    But it's very, very minor and it's very, very rare.
    I have only heard about it once or twice on BBC.

    Malaysia is the luckiest country.

  21. Wow,you sure captured them in its most gloriest and majestic beauty. I hope these temples and all the old buildings arent damaged by the earthquake. I remember watching a documentary on how the Japanese built them without using nails, its amazing was said it could withstand the earthquake, Wallahualam :)

  22. Sorry I'm so late commenting. It's been a crazy weekend here in Japan, as I'm sure you guys all know.
    The temple was being renovated when we were there in 2009, so maybe this summer I will check it out again.

  23. Sensoji obviously survived earthquake that happened on March 11! Your research is fantastic and I have nothing to add on it:) I love night photos of historical buildings being illuminated.
    Have a wonderful Sunday.

  24. @AVCR8teur,
    I think most tourists to Tokyo would visit this temple. And for me, knowing a bit of its history makes the numerous trips there (we always stay in Asakusa while in Tokyo) more interesting. :)

  25. @Ayie,
    Yes, Asakusa is quite interesting. And if you want to get a bit peace and quiet, Asakusa is also the best place (for us, anyway) to stay in Tokyo. :)

  26. @Ri,
    Oh! You totally should. And visit it for the illumination too. It's lovely! :)

  27. @ECL,
    I hope so too. But when you look at Japan's history - even if it gets damaged, they just dust themselves up and start rebuilding again. I hope the same for the tragedy that happen recently... For the Japanese to be strong and show their resilient selves through adversity.

  28. @London Caller,
    At times like this, yes - Malaysia is a safe country. But can't say it'll stay that way. Who knows how nature works or decide to unleash to us?

  29. @cuteandcurls,
    I think it survived.

    Not too sure about some temples I have lined up for futures posts that I visited in the Miyagi area last year though. :(

    But Japanese is known to bounce back so even if its destroyed, they'll rebuild again. They are resilient, Japanese.

  30. @Anna,
    No worries. I wasn't counting on any comments after Friday's actually. And I was just soooo glad you replied on Twitter.

  31. @Yoshi,
    That's good to hear!

    Hope you guys have a good day too. Has things gone back to normal there in Tochigi?

  32. @Yoshi,
    All the research I did for this temple, I still have one question. What is the significance of the "waraji"?

  33. The only major disasters we have are flood and landslide.
    Compare to our neighbouring countries like Indonesia, the Philippines.
    We're very, very lucky.

  34. Nice pixz and the architecture of the temples are so intricate and unique. tQ

  35. @London Caller,
    We should count our blessings. :)

    And to not forget to give a helping hand to those affected too.

  36. @Bananazஇ,
    There are plenty of of unique and interesting temples in Japan. Stay tuned to see more! ^^

    p.s. Have you read my Banana Man post? :D


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