Sensoji-Asakusa Kannon Temple

Senso-ji the Asakusa Kannon temple is a Buddhist temple devoted to Kannon Bosatsu.

Senso-ji. The first temple was built on the site in 645, which makes it the oldest temple in Tokyo.The temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon, also known as Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy. According to legend, a statue of the Kannon was found in the Sumida River in 628 by two fishermen who were brothers. The chief of their village, 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 the Kannon.

The Kaminarimon Gate  (Thunder Gate)

In order to reach the Temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) or the outer Gate. The gate is named for its two guardian Gods of Thunder and Wind (Raijin and Fujin). The entry gate is an imposing Buddhist structure featuring a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red,black and grey tones.

Kaminarimon Gate

The entry gate features a massive paper lantern, vividly painted in black and red tones.

Nakamise-dori shopping Street

Through the Gate is the shopping street Nakamise-dori, which is lined with small shops selling traditional souvenirs and local snacks; shoppers are shoulder to shoulder. Wonderful souvenirs! Sandalwood fans painted with traditional views of Mt Fuji, The Great Wave and other traditional icons were my choice, they are light and easy to carry. However, there was so many items to choose from and all good quality. The snacks were very tempting and delicious.

Octopus-Balls-Tasty-Snacks-Nakamise dori Shopping Street, Ginza

Octopus-Balls-Tasty-Snacks-Nakamise dori Shopping Street, Ginza

A stately five story Pagoda stands within the precinct

Within the precincts stands a stately five-story pagoda and the main temple hall Senso-ji, devoted to Kannon Bosatsu. It is a beautiful Temple. A ceremony was taking place inside Sensoji Temple, so we could only glimpse the beautiful interior of the temple standing outside the entrance. Leading up to the temple is a large incense burner for worshipers and a fountain for ritual cleansing before entering the Temple.

Five-Tiered-Pagoda-Asakusa Kannon Temple Complex Ginza Tokyo Japan

Five-Tiered-Pagoda-Asakusa Kannon Temple Complex Ginza Tokyo Japan

Look for the Asakusa Shrine on the east side of the Senso-ji Temple

Nearby is an ancient Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Shrine. The Asakusa Shrine is on the east side of the Senso-ji temple, a short walk down a street and through a large stone torri (gate).The Asakusa Shrine was constructed in 1649 during the Edo period on the orders of Tokugawa Iemitsu, to honour the three men who were responsible for the construction of the Senso-ji Temple.

Interior-View-of-Sensoji--Asakusa Kannon Temple Ginza Tokyo Japan

Interior-View-of-Sensoji–Asakusa Kannon Temple Ginza Tokyo Japan

There is also a peaceful garden area with small shrines and a large bronze sculpture of the 9th Danjuro Ichikawa (1868-1903), the famous Kabuki actor. He is shown in the role depicting ‘Shibaraku’ which was his forte. The garden area is open at all times, however the Temple hours are restricted.

Bronze Statue famous Kabuki Actor in Asakusa Kannon temple grounds

Bronze Statue famous Kabuki Actor in Asakusa Kannon temple grounds

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Photo’s: More Sensoji Pic’s

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  1. I’ve always been intrigued by Buddhist beliefs. I first learned about it in college in Religious Studies class and it just stuck with me ever since. Though I’m a devoted Catholic, I guess you can say I just admire and have a deep respect for the Buddhist religion. I would love to one day visit the Senso-ji the Asakusa Kannon Temple.

    • I find the Buddhist beliefs very interesting and the more I travel (India and China) the more intriguing I find the beliefs are. I hope you get your wish to travel to Japan and visit the Asakusa Kannon Temple.

  2. Hi there, Lyn:

    Thanks for taking the time to post the article and the photos. I hope you don’t mind if I ask a few questions.

    The Japanese deity Kanon is the same as the Chinese goddess Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, right??? (At least I hope that is right, because that is what I have told a few friends already.)

    Also, I am from Thailand, and in Thailand you will often see Nagas, which are sacred serpents, in statues and in artwork on the eves of the temple roofs because they are thought to protect the temples and the monks inside. Actually, I think they are supposed to protect the Buddha, but by extension, they protect the whole temple. Do they have Nagas at Japanese Buddhist temples?

    If you are going to Thailand please let me know and I will be happy to suggest some places to visit.


    Jay (Srisuda)

    • Hi Jay. I’m afraid I’m no expert on Buddhism, and I am also not a Buddhist, however I find the subject very interesting. From my research I believe that the Japanese deity Kannon is the same as the Chinese goddess Kuan Yin or Guan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, so I believe you are correct. The Dragon in Japan and China supplants the Naga as protectors of Buddhism which would encompass the Buddha and the whole temple. I would love to visit Thailand, but at the moment there is unrest on the borders, unrest everywhere, so this year I feel I should stay at home, but thank you I would be happy to know interesting places to visit in the future. thanks for your comment Lyn

  3. Hi Andrew, Yes the Kaminarimon gate is famous internationally for its traditional architecture and massive paper lantern. A definite landmark and tourist draw card. Thanks for your comment.


  1. Senso-ji temple has been popularly known not only to the whole islands of Japan but to the entire world due to its magnificent and prestigious façade.

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