Visit to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa with many memories of bygone years

Once upon a time, but Japanese history says it is in the year AD 628, there lived two brothers in Asakusa near to the Sumida River. Their names were Hinokuma Hamanari and HIinokuma Takenari. They used to fish from the Sumida river. Everyday they got lot of fishes and people enjoyed good meal with fishes they caught. Fishing from the Sumida river was their job and they continued doing that sincerely.

One day as usual they went for fishing in the Sumida River. The brothers were astonished to see that they got a statue from the river. They realized that they fished a statue of Goddess Kannon. Goddess Kannon is the God of mercy in Japan.

They thought that statue has no value and threw back into the river. Again they started fishing, but to their surprise they again got the statue back to them! The statue was ready to leave them. They brought the statue to the village and told their experience to the villagers. All of them were surprised. The village chief Hajino Nakamoto san realized the divine value and sanctity of the statue.

Hajino Nakamoto-san preserved the statue of Goddess Kannon at his home in Asakusa. It is believed that he remodeled his own home to a small temple to preserve the statue. He thought that the statue possess divine power and the villagers by worshipping will get the mercy of Goddess Kannon.

The Sensoji temple was thus formed in AD 645 to worship the Goddess of Mercy in Asakusa. Thus Sensoji temple became the oldest temple in Tokyo. Japanese people worshipping at the Sensoji temple started getting good results in their life by the blessings of Goddess Kannon. The word spread throughout Japan soon and people started flocking to Asakusa to seek the blessings of Goddess Kannon.

I heard all the story of Sensoji temple from my friend and told him that I will write this story in my personal blog. After visiting the Omiyage shops in Asakusa I decided to visit the Sensoji temple.

Sensoji temple is also known as Asakusa Kannon temple. I entered through the Kaminarimon. The meaning of Kaminarimon is Thunder gate. This is the outer gate of the Sensoji temple in Asakusa.

Asakusa is symbolized by the Kaminarimon, we can say. Walking through the gate I entered to the Nakamise dori, which is about more than 200 meters length starting from the Kaminarimon to the second gate of Sensoji temple. The second gate is known as Hozomon. The gigantic paper lantern was painted Red and black and some Kanji letters were also written in that. This is really thunder!

I could see many Japanese Omiyage shops and traditional local snacks prepared and served there itself in Nakamise dori. People were enjoying the snacks. There were shops of Kimono, Yukata, Ukiyo-e and painted and colored folding fans.

Passing through the Nakamise dori, I reached to the Hozomon gate. Hozomon means ‘Treasure House Gate’ in Japanese. Sure, there is treasure inside, that is the treasure of Mercy! Built in traditional Buddhist architecture, with dramatic color combinations and structures, Hozomon gate stood with its dragon like corners.

Entered to the temple complex, I could see smoke and a small crowd in the forecourt of the temple. There was a small structure inside which a incense sticks were burned as part of traditional worship. Devotees were seeking blessing by waving their hands to the flame and smoke coming out of the metallic pot and showing it to their head. It is a concept that they are blessed.

At the side of the Sanctum sanctorum building, I could see a big statue of Lord Buddha. My mind travelled back to 563 BCE to one of India’s small kingdom where Gautama was born. The prince Gautama left all his worldly wealth and went in search of ultimate truth and meaning of life. Now, even at this 21st century, He is being worshipped by one the world’s most intelligent people in the world – Japanese people!

I entered to the main worship area where the idol is placed. Stepping up to the sanctum sanctorum, there were many devotees throwing coins (Japanese yen) to the metallic box placed in front of the idol. There were lights all around. It reminded me the Hindu temples in India. Hindu people do the same kind of worship.

Stepping down from the sanctum sanctorum, I decided to take snaps of the five storied pagoda. It looked gigantic in the sky. The Asakusa shrine was built by the Tokugawa lemitsu.

World war II destroyed a major part of the temple and Japan rebuilt. But in the courtyard I could see a tree to remind us of the Second World War, which was hit by the air raid bombings by Allied forces. The tree is a symbol of Japan and its people, I believe. The tree has grown again from its old husk! Exactly the same way Japan has grown after world War-II keeping almost all its traditions and customs!

Author: Jayaprakash

3 thoughts on “Visit to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa with many memories of bygone years

  1. Hi Masur,

    Thanks for your suggestions. We have plan to visit Kyoto in the near future. Kyoto and Osaka are the must see places along with Okinawa, Hiroshima, Nagasaki. Not to mention Tokyo as I do live in Tokyo.

    Did you learn Japanese kanji also? I surprise how you could write Japanese Kanji. For me it is a dream to learn Kanji.

    Thanks once again for your comments

  2. I belong to Indonesia. Have you ever gone to Kyoto? I got a chance to visit Kyoto once.
    The Aoi Matsuri is very famous in Kyoto. It is celebrated on May. In Japanese Aoi Matsuri is written as (葵祭). History of Aoi Matsuri dates back to the 7th century AD. Aoi Matsuri became popular during 1500, as a festival to top all other festivals in Kyoto. It is during Aoi festival, emissaries leave the Kyoto Imperial Palace and proceed to Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社 Shimo-gamo-jinja) and then to Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社 Kami-gamo-jinja). These are the two shrines in the north of Kyoto.

    You must go there and watch since you are living with your family in Japan. It is interesting for foreigners.

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