History of Sensoji
The origin of the famous Sensoji temple is the stuff of legend. The story goes that back in 628, two fisherman brothers pulled a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, from the Sumidagawa River. Although they tried to return it to the river, it always came back to them. They built Sensoji to house this sacred statue and to honor Kannon, completing it in 645. For centuries, a constant flow of visitors has come to pay their respects and pray in the temple’s main hall.
The heart and soul of Asakusa
Around the central building of Sensoji, you can see the Goju-no-To five-tiered pagoda, several smaller halls, and charming little gardens, one of which houses Tokyo’s oldest stone bridge and wooden structure. To the right of the main hall, you will find Asakusa Shrine, where the three men who founded Sensoji are enshrined.
Explore the area in a traditional way
Go for a ride on rickshaws around the temple and experience the elegance of the ancient Asakusa in the shopping streets of Denpoin-dori, Kannon-dori, and Asakusa Chuo-dori. Explore traditional crafts, printed cotton kimono, and the floating scent of Japanese sweets in Nakamise Street. Plus, there are nearby department stores, discount shops, and entertainment venues in Rokku district such as the famous cabaret club Rockza which launched comedian Beat Takeshi’s career. It would not be complete without trying the famous old-school snacks such as dorayaki, fried manju buns, or mochi skewers.
A free guided tour is available in Sensoji Temple held every Saturday and Sunday, twice a day from 11:00 am to 1:15 pm. Visit the Asakusa Tourist Culture Information Center for further details.
Best time to visit Sensoji
The best day of the week to go to Sensoji are weekdays. It may be crowded, but it is still manageable. If you are avoiding large crowds, going there before noon is a good time to stroll in the area as most people avoid waking up early in the morning. Another option is visiting the temple at night. Although most people leave the temple before sunrise, it would be nice to watch the sunset and go for a traditional Japanese dinner in Asakusa.
There are available restrooms and a designated smoking area around the temple. Languages used are Japanese, English, Chinese (traditional), and Korean.
Sensoji Temple’s main hall is open from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm every day on April to September, and 6:30 am to 5:00 pm every day on the months of October to March. Still, the grounds of the temple are always open.
How to get there
The temple is a 5-minute walk from most of the major sights namely the Asakusa Station served by the Ginza, Asakusa, and Tobu railway lines.
2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku