The Senso-ji Temple

The Senso-ji Temple

Sensoji is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Legend says that the temple was built after two fisherman found a statue of goddess Kannon. This is an important center of Buddhist faith, and it attracts about 30 milion visitors every year.

In the year 628, Hinokuma Hamanari and his brother Takenari were fishing on the Simuda River. While pulling their net out of the water, they were surprised to see that there is a statue in the net. When the village chief realized that they had "caught" the statue of the goddess Kannon, he made the decision to dedicate himself to Buddhism because he understood the discovery of the statue as a sign. He soon converted his house into a temple and dedicated the rest of his life to Buddhism.

In 645, the Buddhist priest Shokai came to this region. He built a hall for the statue of goddess, but an omen appeared in his dream after which he decided to hide the statue from view. Since then, the statue has been undiscovered. The statue was discovered in Asakusa, which at the time was a small fishing village located at the mouth of Tokyo Bay. As more and more people came to worship, the place began to develop and grow.

During the so-called Kamakura period (from 1185 to 1333), the Shoguns showed great loyalty to Sensoji. Gradually, this example was followed by other prominent personalities, including military leaders, generals who led to the temple gaining bigger importance. In 1590, the first Togugawa shogun designated the Sensoji temple as a center for the shogunate's prayers. After this proclamation, Togugawa himself often visited the temple. Due to the growing number of prominent people in Japan who emphasized the importance of the temple, the popularity of the temple began to spread among the ordinary world. During the 18th and 19th century, Edo developed from a fishing village into a real city and became the capital of Japan, renaming its name to Tokyo, which means the Eastern capital. Asakusa is the business cultural center of the city.

Sensoji is the oldest temple in Tokyo, and it is also called Asakusa Kannon, because there is a statue of the goddess Kannon in it. The temple is really beautiful. There you can learn a lot about the tradition of Japan, the culture of this country and about the wonderful religion of the Japanese, Buddhism.
Important dates that are celebrated in the temple are: April 8 - Buddha's birthday, July 9 and 10, Shiman-okusen-nichi days. These two days are the days when the prayers in Sensoji are 46.000 times stronger than the prayers on other days. December 17, 18 and 19 - The last Sensoji festival of the year.

Entrance to Sensoji Temple is FREE.

Photo credit: Josh Soto

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