Senso-ji

Asakusa’s colorful temple

Senso-ji is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, located in Asakusa, on the shores of the Sumida River. Originally built to worship bodhisattva Kannon, it is nowadays the most popular touristic spot, highly appreciated for its vivid colors, and its grassroots and busy atmosphere.

Asakusa is best known for the very famous Senso-ji temple. About 30 billion tourists cross its great Kaminarimon gate each year.

The souvenir shops on Nakamise-dori

Nakamise-dori is a long merchant street stretching between the majestic Kaminari-mon gate to the main temple building. Since the end of 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, shopkeepers have been struggling to sell some cheap souvenirs at the highest price! As the area is swarming with tourists, mainly from China and South Korea, they don’t really try to accommodate customers.

About 90 shops, open without interruption until night, are aligned over 250 meters. Visitors have a wide choice amongst food stalls and popular souvenir shops. As for food, you can have dango skewers as well as sweet potato or red bean paste dorayaki. The typical souvenirs are Maneki-neko cat statues, red lanterns, Japanese fabric for furoshiki and katana sword toys.

The shops were rebuilt to look like their original appearance of December 26, 1885, when they first opened. In July 2017, their primary owner, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government sold them to Senso-ji temple. As a consequence, the shops monthly rent was multiplied by 16(!) in January 2018: from ¥23,000 (~US$ 208.70) to ¥370,000 (~US$ 3,358.10).

The colorful Buddhist complex

As for pagoda and buildings in Senso-ji temple, there is no denying that they were superbly rebuilt after World War II. They are also perfectly maintained, lit up and, although no sign of tradition hangs about them, they offer a postcard-like scenery right in the heart of Tokyo. However, visitors who don’t have the possibility to travel outside Tokyo during their stay are sure to enjoy the place.

The temple somehow lacks authenticity due to its flashy and shopping-oriented aspects. As an example, there are surprising jinrikisha or rickshaws activities which are priced up to 9,000 yens (~US$ 81.70) per half-hour! A high price to pay for being driven around in such densely crowded surroundings. If you are keen on riding a rickshaw, we rather recommend a ride along the paths of Sagano in Kyoto.

For a pretty view on Senso-ji, just cross the road opposite Kaminarimon and climb to the top of the Culture Tourist Information Center.

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Senso-ji photo gallery

  • Senso-ji, Kaminarimon and pagoda
  • Senso-ji, Nakamise-dori
  • Senso-ji, Kaminarimon
  • Senso-ji, Lantern
  • Senso-ji, Main Hall
  • Senso-ji, Pagoda
  • Senso-ji, Detail of the Main Hall
  • Senso-ji, Purification Fountain
  • Senso-ji, Details of a roof
  • Senso-ji, Architectural Details
  • Senso-ji, Details of a roof 2
  • Senso-ji, View on Tokyo SkyTree
  • Senso-ji, Nakamise-dori at night
  • Senso-ji, Kaminarimon at night

Information

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How to get to Senso-ji

By subway -- Tokyo Metro Ginza or Asakusa line, Asakusa station (G19 or A18) and 3 minute walk

By train -- Tobu Isesaki Line, Asakusa station and 3 minute walk

Location unreachable with the JR Pass

Get there with a rental car

Admission

Free

Opening hours

Open daily from 6am to 5pm (open at 6:30am between October and March)

How long / when to visit

Allow one to two hours

In Japanese

浅草寺

Weather in Tokyo

Today
8 / 10°C
Tomorrow
2 / 10°C

Connexion internet

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Related topics

Resources

Official website (in English)

Day trips from Senso-ji (Asakusa)