Japan! Asakusa

We visited Asakusa, home of the most venerable Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Senso-ji.  Also known as Asakusa Kannon, it’s a temple to the goddess of mercy. Two fisherman in the mid seventh century found a little golden Kannon statue in their nets, and that statue is enshrined in the temple, though it’s considered too holy to be seen, so it’s not on view.

The first thing we saw as we got off the train was a panda bus. It even winked. Tiny just about died. (That tall building in the background is the Tokyo Sky Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo. We haven’t been there yet.)

The Kaminari-mon, or Thunder Gate. Those gentleman on either side are Raijin and Fujin, the gods of Thunder and Wind, there to protect Kannon.

A street full of shops before you get to the temple.


Before we went in to the temple we stopped in here to get some ice cream.


The flavor choices.


Ice cream girls.

We ate the ice cream under the peaceful gaze of these two Buddha.

A five story pagoda.

The temple.

At the temple, you can buy your fortune. You put a 100 yen coin in a slot, then pick up that metal container and shake it. A stick comes out with a number in Japanese on it. You find the drawer with the corresponding number and open it, and inside is your fortune.

This was Z’s fortune.

Mine was worse. Luckily if you don’t like your fortune, you can tie it on to a wire to negate it, which we did.

More photos from around the temple and associated shrines.

Zoe purifying her hands.

A prayer tablet that Z especially liked,

Streets in Asakusa.

This is Chingo-do, or Otanuki-sama (Sir Raccoon-dog). He his a deity of protection against fire and theft, and he has his own shrine in Asakusa because in 1872 the steward of the Senso-ji Temple was having trouble with raccoon dogs that had taken up residence in the temple and were causing mischief. So the chief priest of the temple suggested that they make Chingo-do his own shrine. (I couldn’t make this up.) I’m assuming that the mischief ceased with the building of the shrine.

3 thoughts on “Japan! Asakusa

  1. Without doubt, those girls are having the times of their lives! Hang in there Tiny, the panda bus is just the beginning. Hahah!

    Great pics. And I’m glad you’re not bashful with the camera. I just got a fancy camera to use on my honeymoon coming up… however, I’m so aware of using it and people looking at me using it. Maryanne, are you a natural photo geek? Or are you making yourself take pictures not to miss the moment?

  2. Maryanne on

    Jimmie, I don’t a have a fancy camera, just the one on my ipod. (Which is a great camera, just not a big bulky one.) I figure everyone already thinks I’m a tourist, so they’ll already have an opinion about me taking pictures. 🙂 I’m just pointing and clicking like mad so that we have documentation of where we’ve been and what we’ve done. I wish I had more technique with what I was doing, most of my pictures come out blurry or just eh. Luckily I take so many that some of them come out nicely.

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