Located in Asakusa, approximately 30 minutes from Tokyo by train, Sensō-ji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple that is both the oldest and most significant temple in Tokyo. Originally belonging to the Tendai Buddhist sect, the temple became an independent place of worship after World War II and is now one of the most colourful and popular temples in Tokyo.
Built in 645 for the goddess Kannon, Sensō-ji Temple is a spectacular tourist attraction home to a breathtaking five storey pagoda as well as impressive entry gates, imposing guard statues and a striking main hall featuring intricately hand-painted ceilings and a shining golden altar. Arriving at Sensō-ji, visitors pass through the Kaminarimon, also known as Thunder Gate.
Immediately you are greeted by a colourful, bustling street filled with vibrant street vendors home to everything from folding fans, sake sets and typical Japanese souvenirs as well as traditional local food and snacks. Featuring approximately 90 vendors over 200m, Nakamise shopping street is as much a part of the attraction of Sensō-ji as the temple itself and boasts a history spanning several centuries.
Passing through the second gate, known as Hozomon, the awe-inspiring structure of Sensō-ji Temple rises up from a set of stone steps. Visitors can see traditional worshippers burning incense and washing their hands in holy water before ascending the steps to the incredible interior of the temple. Spend time admiring the amazing work of the pagoda, ceiling and altar.
Less than 50m to the left of the main temple building, the Asakusa Shrine is another popular attraction built in 1649. A Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Shrine, Sensō-ji Temple and Nakamise shopping street all provide for some fantastic photo opportunities. Be sure to allow enough time to enjoy some traditional Japanese cuisine at one of the many small restaurants and eateries as well as a glass or two of sake.