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Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa (2/5)
Kaminari Gate in Asakusa (3/5)
Inside Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa (4/5)
Nakamise Street in Asakusa (5/5)


A colorful bit of historical Tokyo


Senso-ji Temple

Free 6:00 - 17:00

Senso-ji, also known as Asakusa Kannon, is Tokyo's largest Buddhist Temple and one of the city's most visited tourist spots. It was originally founded in the year 645, making it the oldest temple in the capital of Japan. According to the legend Senso-ji was built in order to enshrine a statue of the goddess Kannon, which was accidentally found by two fishermen floating in the Sumida river.

Senso-ji is actually a large complex formed by several structures. The majestuous Kaminari Gate (or Thunder gate) marks the entrance to the temple, featuring a height of 11.7m, a hanging giant paper lantern in the center and four wooden statues on its sides depicting the Shinto gods of wind and thunder on the front and the Buddhist gods Tenryu and Kinryu on the back. The original gate was built in 941 but the present one is a reconstruction from 1960.

Further in the temple grounds stands the Honzomon, a smaller gate which provides the entrance to the inner temple complex and leads to the main hall. The main hall is known as Kannondo, or Kannon Hall, for it's devoted to the goddess of mercy Kannon. To the left of the Kannondo stands the Gojunoto, an impressive 5 story pagoda which is said to contain some of the ashes of Buddha. Both are recent reconstructions, having been destroyed during World War 2.

Nakamise Street


Nakamise is the name given to the busy shopping street that leads the way from the Kaminari Gate to the Hanzomon Gate in the Senso-ji Temple. The street is approximately 250 meters long and is lined with around 90 shops which essentially carry Buddhist related articles, traditional Japanese goods and all kind of cheap souvenirs, making it one of the best places in Tokyo to buy souvenirs.

Asakusa Shrine


The Asakusa Shrine, also known as Sanja-sama or the Shrine of the three gods, is a small Shinto shrine dedicated to the men who founded the Senso-ji Temple. The Shrine is located in the grounds of the Senso-ji Temple complex, a few meters away of the main building and its entrance is clearly indicated with a stone Tori gate.

Asakusa shine was constructed in 1649, during Japan's Edo period, and, unlike most of the structures found in the Senso-ji complex, it survived the Tokyo bombings of World War II. Due to its historical significance, it was designated as Important Cultural Property by the Japanese Government in 1951.


Asakusa Station
Ginza, Asakusa lines


The entrance of the Senso-ji Temple Complex is located a few steps away from the Asakusa subway station.