My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: March 22, 2022
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), various facilities around Tokyo may change their operating days or hours. In addition, some events may be canceled or postponed. Please check official facility or event websites for the latest updates and information.
Sensoji is perhaps the most famous and photographed of Tokyo's temples. It is the oldest Buddhist temple in the capital, and the five-story pagoda, trails of incense and vast eaves will take you back to a Tokyo of time gone by.
The shopping street leading to Sensoji Temple, known as Nakamise-dori, is lined with about 90 shops selling crafts, souvenirs and plenty of sweet and savory snacks. Throughout the year, you can come across seasonal events held on the temple grounds. Some of the most popular include the hozuki (Chinese lantern plant) market in July and the photogenic hagoita (decorative paddle) market in December.
The history of the temple is an interesting one. Legend states that two fisherman caught a golden statue of Kannon—the merciful nirvana achiever—in what is now the Sumida River. Despite trying to return the figure to the river multiple times it always came back to them. Being recognized as Kannon, it was enshrined. Although Sensoji Temple was founded in 628 the current crimson building is much more modern, as it was rebuilt after being destroyed in WW2.
© Sensoji Temple
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