A millennium ago so the legend goes, the Hirokuma brothers found the statue of Kannon (the Bodhisattva of Mercy - the deity ... More
A millennium ago so the legend goes, the Hirokuma brothers found the statue of Kannon (the Bodhisattva of Mercy - the deity alleged to have great powers in purifying people and granting them true happiness) in their fishing nets, and the village chief dutifully enshrined it. The Asakusa Shrine was thus established in 1649 and the three persons in the legend were consecrated as gods of the shrine, hereby earning it the nickname Sanja-sama (the shrine of the three gods). Undoubtedly the most famous shrine in Tokyo, it also hosts the Sanja Festival in May.
Asakusa is touristy, but you'll find just as many Japanese tourists as foreigners. My husband is from Japan and he even took his father there. It's small trinket shops, but you can find hidden treasures there as well. You just have to take the time to look. I have been there over 9 times and I always find something new. My most favorite memory was last winter, we had the luck to be there at night time with the softest whitest snowflakes falling and covering the temples. It was simply magical. The quiet sounds of the the snow falling, the heady smell of incense, and then as if on cue a peaceful quiet fell and all seemed right with the world.....
I came that close to missing this wonderful cultural gem of a temple and the charming neighbourhood around it. It was at the end of a long day, I only had a few hours in Tokyo left, and I was all "templed out", but, what the heck, everyone kept talking about it so I jumped into a taxi and went. I must say, this is a site in Tokyo that is not to be missed! The beautiful temple grounds not only have interesting historic buildings, statues and pagodas, but are like a constant street faire with food and souvenir booths. The shopping stalls are not the regular commonly available stuff like at airports (t-shirts and keychains), but rather the nice, hand-crafted, authentic Japanese stuff (fans, lacquer boxes, masks, lanterns, netsuke, kimonos, straw hats, umbrellas, tea cups, etc). It was the exactly the type of quality shopping that I had been looking all over for. At the end of the shopping lane, I also had the best Ten-Don (tempura donburi) that I ever had in my life! I was so glad I went to Asakusa, after coming so close to missing it.
aside from the sights this is a great place to pick-up trinkets as gifts to take home. it can get somewhat crowded as it is a popular tourist destination but it's worth it. there's a great noodle shop nearby as well but the name escapes me!
Love the temple, always use the smoke, throw money and pray. Across the road in front of the gate is a clock worth watching on the hour. Up a laneway you can get okonomiyaka and a few doors up the main street is Y100 shop. What more does one want.
Asakusa is a nice place to visit once. About 3 hrs max is all I needed. Very touristy area and mostly souvenir shops. I do highly recomend to try the manju(somekind of fried bread anko snack) I visited Asakusa once on my second trip just to get manju :P I was there no more than 20 min.
I absolutely loved this place, it was so amazing, and a great place to shop for traditional Japanese souvineirs. Its beautiful, its like a flahback of how Japan maybe used to be, with all the little shops and stands, and the amazing food! If you are in Japan or ever go there, this is a must see. Its my favorite place to go whenever I visit Japan.
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