Sensoji Temple is a famous place and symbol of Asakusa. It’s a temple with a 1400 year history that’s filled with things to see, like Kaminarimon, Hozomon, the Five Story Pagoda, and more. However, there are so many things to see, you might have trouble deciding which ones you should check out. In order to get the most out of Sensoji, which will be even more popular with the completion of the Sky Tree, I’ll introduce my recommended spots.
Tips & Recommendations for Asakusa
Sensoji’s symbol towers: The Five Story Pagoda and Hozomon
The object that stands out even when viewed from a distance is the Five Story Pagoda (on the left in the above picture). The pagoda’s height is an impressive 53.3 meters! It’s illuminated until 11pm, so it’s also very popular as a date spot.
Walk straight down Nakamise-dori Street and Hozomon (Treasure-House Gate) comes into view. (On the right in the above picture). I was thinking what an opportune name it has, and actually it seems Hozomon used to be where treasured objects from another important cultural property, Sensoji Temple, were stored. Go around to the back and there is also a huge, 500kg straw sandal, so don’t miss it.
The large paper lantern that was actually a donation from Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic)!
Also a symbol of Asakusa is Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). If you come to Asakusa, there are tons, tons, and tons of people taking pictures here. If you think you’d like to have a picture of yourself with Kaminarimon, then ask a nearby rickshaw driver and he’ll help you take an excellent shot. The rickshaw drivers are so kind and well-informed that you might think they know everything about Asakusa! Moreover, they all have suntanned skin and are quite muscular. If they offer to “Let me show you the sites”, you’ll find yourself unconsciously nodding “Okay”. (Haha)
Back to talking about Kaminarimon, below it is written, “Matsushita Electric Industrial”. Actually, this large paper lantern was made with a donation from Matsushita Electric Industrial (now called Panasonic). It seems that the founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial, Matsushita Konosuke, became sick and was praying at Sensoji when, amazingly, he recovered. This large paper lantern was donated at the time as an offer of thanks!
Nadebotoke: Caress and become better
Sitting quietly far to the left of Hozomon is Nadebotoke. It’s located in a place that’s hard to notice, so it’s kind of a well-kept secret that doesn’t get many visitors. Nadebotoke is a statue of Buddha that grants health to the part of the statue’s body that you rub. So by all means, give it a rub anywhere that you want to be healed!
Rokkakudo: A figure unchanged since the Muromachi Period
Deep in the left part of the main sanctuary is Rokkakudo (hexagonal building) Temple. Dating back to the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), this is Sensoji’s oldest structure. Below Rokkakudo, a 1.5m-deep water well hole is carved out of stone. Rich with the feel of the Muromachi Period, Rokkakudo is definitely worth a visit.
The modern shape of the Tokyo Sky Tree as seen from Hozomon!
From the front of Hozomon or the area around it, the large Sky Tree suddenly bursts into view. I recommend taking a picture that incorporates both Hozomon and the Sky Tree. In the morning, there is often some backlighting that makes it hard to take a good photo, but in the afternoon you can get a beautiful shot. Sensoji, the symbol of Asakusa.
It is said that it can grant all of your dreams, instilling gratitude as it answers your prayers. You can purify your mind and body with the power of Sensoji.