Thursday, October 15, 2015


Senso-ji is Tokyo's most visited temple.  It enshrines a golden image of Kannon - the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, which, according to legend was miraculously pulled out of the nearby river by two fishermen nearly 1400 years ago.

George didn't take a photo of the Kannon statue, but it may have looked something like the small statue beneath the large golden image of Kannon below (taken from another temple):

The  golden image has remained on the spot ever since.

A stately 5-story pagoda stands within the temple precincts
The temple was bombed and destroyed during World War II, but reconstructed in 1950.

Many tourists, from Japan and around the world, visit Senso-ji every year.  The surrounding area has many traditional shops and eating places that feature traditional dishes (such as handmade noodles, sushi and tempura) and small shops selling souvenirs.

Crowds of tourists and worshipers at a o-mikuji stall
Throughout the temple grounds are o-mikuji stalls where, for a donation of 100 yen, visitors may consult the oracle and get divine answers to their questions.  To get your answers to life's burning questions, you simply shake labelled sticks from an enclosed metal container and read the answers they retrieve from one of 100 drawers.  It seems a little random for me to take seriously, but is probably fun.

In the street leading from the main gate are vendors selling fans, woodblock prints, kimonos, t-shirts and other clothing, Buddhist scrolls, traditional sweets - and bizarre things such as Godzilla toys and mobile phone straps.

These shops are part of the more than thousand-year old tradition of selling to pilgrims who walked to Senso-ji.

The architecture of this shrine is beautifully detailed.  I love the cheerful red that these structures are painted with.  The color red figures large in Japanese mythology. Some statues of deities in Shinto and Buddhist traditions are decked in red clothing or painted red.  Red is the color for expelling demons and illness.  Red protects against evil forces.

I think it's cheerful and makes me happy.

Within the temple itself is a contemplative garden in Japanese style.

This is an area steeped in rich tradition and, as you can tell from the photos, a great many people visit this place every day.

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