Sensoji is Tokyo’s (東京) oldest and most popular Buddhist temple. It stands right in the center of Asakusa (浅草), a northeastern city district with traditional old-town feeling. The temple is dedicated to the Kannon, the goddess of mercy, whose statue was found here in the 7th century according to legends.
Consequently, the current buildings are mostly reconstructions from not that long ago.
Sensoji’s whole premise spreads from the outer gate named Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) all the way to the second gate Hozomon and beyond to the main hall.
The area between the two gates is filled with small shops and restaurants known as the Nakamise Shopping street.
Visiting Sensoji Temple
Here, you will find traditional items such a Yukata along with fitting shoes and folding fans and street food such as Yakitori (焼き鳥) or Takoyaki (たこ焼き). This street gets really packed at peak times (esp. weekends) so prepare for that. It is still very worth it to come here as there is a lot to see.
Behind the Hozomon gate lie Sensoji’s main hall and temple grounds. The grounds are filled with small buildings and temple facilities, it really doesn’t feel like Tokyo anymore. At Sensoji temple, you can enjoy practically every temple activity there is.
Try your luck with the Omikuji and see how fortunate you really are. Then, embrace yourself with the healing capabilities of the smoke from incense burners in front of the main hall.
After that, you’re ready to enter the main hall and pay your respects.
You can check out how to visit a temple and behave accordingly in this article!
Besides the main temple buildings, there is also various smaller shrines and most importantly the Asakusa shrine nearby.
Events at Sensoji Temple
There are 3 annual events held at and around Sensoji Temple:
The most important one is the Sanja Matsuri (三社祭), the yearly festival of nearby Asakusa Shrine which is held on the third weekend of May. Secondly, there is the Hagoita Market where specially decorated traditional items are sold.
And lastly, the Asakusa Samba Carnival held in August.
I have not yet had the opportunity to attend any of these events but I’m sure they’re very fun! If interested, try to plan your trip around one of the events.
Opening Hours & Admission Fee
- The main hall is opened from 6:00 to 17:00 (opens at 6:30 from October to March); the temple grounds are always open!
- There are no closing days throughout the year
- Entrance is free of charge!
How to get to Sensoji Temple
If you managed to come to Asakusa, then you’re basically already at the temple. It’s located right besides Asakusa Station, you can’t miss it.
As for Asakusa Station:
From Tokyo Station
Take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station (神田駅) where you then transfer to the Ginza Subway line heading straight towards Asakusa. The ride will take about 15 minutes and costs 310 Yen (2,38€/$2.82).
From any JR Yamanote served station
Head towards Kanda Station and follow the procedure above. From Shinjuku for example, it takes about 10 minutes to get to Kanda Station.
Depending on which station you are at, it can be faster to take a different line, but only if you’re far away from Kanda Station.
Rides on the JR Yamanote Line (or any JR Line) are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Sensoji Temple is easily one of the top priorities to visit in Tokyo. Being a mostly modern metropolis, there’s not that much left of traditional Japan or historical value (except for the museums of course).
As such, visiting the most important and popular temple in Tokyo is a real blessing. It takes you back to ancient times where even the likes of Tokyo played a big role in the country’s tradition. Sensoji exists as a prime example for the history the Japanese try to preserve.
Asakusa as a whole is a very lively and exciting district so definitely go there, you won’t regret it!
Try some of that sweet melon bread (メロンパン) in Nakamise Shopping Street and experience true bliss. 😊
That shall be it for this article, I hope you found it useful!
Thank you very much for reading, it is much appreciated.
In my next post we are going to take a look at Kyoto Tower!
See you there!