Sensoji Temple

Get a glimpse of Japanese culture at Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, and Nakamise-dori with its many shops

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Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple. Surrounding the main temple is a 5-story pagoda, as well as various shops along Nakamise-dori street leading up to the temple. The famous Sanja Festival, which spreads its way through the temple grounds, and the Hozuki Festival are held annually at Sensoji Temple.
Business Hours
Saturday ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Sunday ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Weekdays ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Address
Senso-ji Temple, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Phone
(03) 3842-0181

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About

 

Sensoji at the centre of the Edo Period culture

During the Edo period, Sensoji Temple was used as the main temple of prayer for the Tokugawa shogunate and resultantly, Sensoji Temple flourished in the city of Edo. Asakusa as a whole is representative of this shitamachi (downtown-style) culture during the Edo Period, and Sensoji Temple is the sightseeing spot that represents this history and culture of Asakusa largely due to the number of visitors it receives on a yearly basis. There are over a staggering 30 million worshippers whom visit the temple yearly and of this total, many are visitors from abroad. The main outer gate of Sensoji Temple, Kaminarimon, is the most famous landmark for this attraction and the large lantern connected to this gate is the top ranking photo opportunity location for visitors to the temple. This sizable lantern is 4 meters in height and weighs a whopping 640 kilograms. To the left and right hand side of the gate are images of the wind god and thunder gods. Derived from these images, the gate formerly was called the wind-thunder gate but eventually was abbreviated to the shorter thunder gate. The temple was destroyed in the great fire in the first year of the Keiou era (1865- 1868) but in 1955, the world-famous company Panasonic donated funds to rebuild this landmark of Asakusa.

Nakamise-dori lined with souvenir shops

After entering from the outer gate, there is a street heading to the main temple called Nakamise-dori lined with stores that sell various traditional local foods and merchandise. The local specialties of Aasakusa that you can find here are ningyo yaki, which are bean jam cakes formed in the shape of dolls, as well as sweet rice snacks. Since there are many options to try local specialties on this street, you should certainly attempt to sample a few different foods. As you proceed further down this street, you will eventually approach Hozomon gate which has been preserved as an Important Cultural Property. Also, you will encounter the main temple and the surrounding 5-story pagoda as well as Asakusa Shrine. The architecture of this five-story pagoda can withstand the intense pressures of the earthquake-ridden Japan and accordingly, the newly constructed Skytree has been constructed with the architecture of the five-story pagoda in mind. From Senosoji Temple, it is possible to also catch sight of the Skytree and compare the similarities and differences between the two towers.

Unquestionably, the season that is recommended to visit this attraction is during the cherry blossom season in April. The backdrop of the temple, pagoda and pond amongst the bloom of the cherry blossoms epitomizes the traditional Japanese landscape. If you are unable to visit in April, May is also lively with festivals such as the Sanja Festival.

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Access

From the Ginza Line Asakusa Station, take Exit 1 and walk straight, keeping Tokyo Skytree behind you. After one minute, you will see the Kaminarimon Gate to your right; this marks the entrance to Nakamise shopping street. Follow the line of shops until you reach Sensoji Temple.

From Shinjuku Station to Asakusa Station:
Take the Chuo Line to Kanda Station, change trains to the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station (21 minutes, ¥340)From Tokyo Station to Asakusa Station:
Take the Yamanote Line to Kanda Station, change trains to the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station (12 minutes, ¥310)

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Reviews

2 years ago
a little crowded but a must visit!
It just feels hearty. It's a big temple, you can pray, sit and eat, take photos, ect. Lots of food and souvenir shops on the path to the temple.
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3 years ago
Make a wish!
I love to go and pray at Sensoji whenever I happen to be close by! It is always very relaxing the moment I close my eyes in front of the temple to pay my respects. Every wish I ever wished for at this temple always came true, so it is a very dear and magical spot to me! And of course the design and atmosphere of the place is just amazing! I prefer to visit on the night time as it is less busy and I feel that I can enjoy the place at my own pace!
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3 years ago
I can watch this temple over and over again
「ただいま」 ("I'm home") when you discover a place you like and come here again and again, it will start to feel like home. That's what happened with the Sensoji temple for me. During daytime it can get crowded here, but sometimes I loved to walk an extra long way through the temple to get to the Lawson nearby to buy some stuff. For a short moment you just feel like a normal japanese person. I'd recommend to visit it again in the evening. You will see less people here and the temple looks really beautiful light up at night. The atmosphere will change as well as you might notice.
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4 years ago
Puts you at ease
I'd give this place 5 stars if i didn't get a bad luck fortune told to me. I come to know this place quite well. Lots of random shops for souvenirs. Lots of people coming to pray for good fortune and health. Many small temples and shrines to pray at. There's some pretty good ice cream here that I tried. I feel at ease when I walk through this place. I recently took my friend here and she loved it and I'm glad this place is a memory we will both have although she was really sad for having a bad fortune. Rain or shine this place can clear the mind when it's not so busy.
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4 years ago
An amazing temple in the heart of Asakusa
Sensō-ji is a Buddhist Temple in Asakusa and the oldest temple in Tokyo. The entrance to the temple is marked by a giant red and white lantern, and probably the largest lantern I have seen in my life. This section is known as Kaminarimon, or the Thunder Gate. Standing either side of the gate are two large statues, the one on the left, I am told, is Fūjin, the god of wind; and to the right, Raijin, the god of thunder. Next up on the way to the temple is a row of over 80 stalls selling fans, umbrellas, souvenirs, various foodstuffs (bean paste buns and rice crackers appear to be popular today), clothing, handbags, and one stall claiming to sell tortoise shell and coral. This section is called Nakamise-Dori, and creates a beautiful lantern lit road of stalls leading to the Temple. In the temple courtyard stands Goju-no-To, a five-story pagoda, and at 53 meters tall is the second highest pagoda in the whole of Japan. Before the entrance to the temple there is a huge cauldron that bellows out incense in the form of thick smoke. The cauldron is the last thing before the entrance to the Hondō, or Main Hall. Once inside the Main Hall there is apparently a golden statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy; the statue is said to have been fished out of a lake in the year 628 AD by two fishermen. I get my fortune from the temple and am pleased to say it is the 'Best Fortune'. It tells me to build a new house. Overall, Sensō-ji is an amazing temple, and one of my favourite attractions in Asakusa, and perhaps even Tokyo.
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