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.
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!
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.