Senso-ji, also known as the Asakusa Kannon Temple, is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo. Founded in the year 628, it is the oldest temple in Tokyo as well as one of the most popular. Legend states that the temple was built to enshrine the goddess, Kannon, after two brothers fished a statue of her out the Sumida River.
The entrance of the temple is dominated by the intimidating gate known as Kaminarimon, (Thunder Gate) as well as an enormous red and black paper lantern featured as the centerpiece of the outer gate. Once you enter through the
Kaminarimon, traditional, small souvenir shops and food stands line either side of the streets (approximately 250m) leading up to the main building of the temple.
This shopping street, called Nakamise Dori, also doubles as the pathway that connects the outer gate of the temple to the inner gate known as Hozomon. The main hall of the temple as well as a five story pagoda, dedicated to Kannon, stand beyond the Hozomon Gate. The Asakusa Shrine, built much later in the year 1649, is located to the left of the temple’s main building.
Over 30 million people, both tourists and locals, visit the temple each year, to experience the nostalgia of old Tokyo, making Senso-ji one of the most beloved spots in the entire city.