Asakusa

Asakusa is a part of Tokyo’s downtown Taito district best known for its many temples and shrines.

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Sensōji (also known as Asakusa Kannon) is Tokyo’s largest Buddhist temple and a major attraction for local Japanese and foreign tourists. 

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The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) was first built in 942, the gate has been destroyed numerous times and the current incarnation dates to only 1950.

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The always busy Nakamise shopping arcade leading up to the temple starts after the gate.  This is one of the best places in Tokyo to buy souvenirs.

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At the end of the arcade is the main gate called Hōzōmon, notable for a giant straw sandal (waraji) hung up on one side. This gate is guarded by ferocious guardian gods.

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The Kannondō (Kannon Hall) is behind the gate, which is currently under renovation.  According to legend, the hall was originally built in 628 to house a statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, fished out of the Sumida River by two brothers.

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To the west is the Gojūnoto (5-Story Pagoda), reputedly containing some of the ashes of the Buddha.

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Asakusa Jinja can be found to the east behind the temple, a quiet and plain Shinto shrine devoted to protecting the Buddhist temple in a typically Japanese arrangement.

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Nearby, the Chingodo Shrine is dedicated to the Japanese raccoon dog tanuki, notably primarily for its big flask of sake and gigantic testicles.

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Around the area, you will find many different covered and outdoor shopping areas and streets.

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Sightseeing tours by rickshaw is popular in Asakusa with the charge starting from 13,000 yen (about $110) for two people.

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The Sumida River runs along Asakusa …

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… where you will find the distinct landmark Asahi headquarters building.

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  1. Pingback: Tokyo Megacity by Donald Richie | Konnichiwa

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