Sensoji Temple

Sights Type / Religious
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
Location

Tokyo, Japan

Address

2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Getting there

Sensoji Temple is a few steps from Asakusa Station, served by the Ginza Subway Line, Asakusa Subway Line and Tobu Railways.

From Tokyo Station: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station (2 minutes, 140 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).

From Shinjuku Station: Take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station (10 minutes, 170 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).

Telephone

+81-3-3842-0181

More information

http://www.senso-ji.jp, https://facebook.com/pages/Sensoji-Temple-Tokyo-Japan/, https://foursquare.com/v/Sensoji-temple

Prices

Free admission

Opening hours

Main hall: 6:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March)
Temple grounds: Always open

Something wrong?Submit a correction

Sensō-ji 金龍山浅草寺, is Tokyo’s largest ancient Buddhist temple and a major Tokyo attractions for Japanese and foreigners located in Asakusa. Sensoji Temple in Asakusa (popularly known as Asakusa Kannon Temple), is the headquarters of the Sho-Kannon sect and Tokyo's oldest temple, having been founded in 628 A.D.

The temple is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon, also known as Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy.

It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, it became independent after World War II.

Founded in 628, Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo. Many people believe that the Asakusa Kannon deity enshrined here has the ability to bestow benefits on earth, and around 30 million visitors from throughout Japan and abroad visit the temple every year. It was the epicenter for the development of Edo culture, and these traces still remain today. Many seasonal events are held including the Hozuki (Chinese lantern plant) Market and Hagoita (wooden paddle) Market. The huge lanterns hung at Kaminari (Thunder) Gate are very famous throughout Japan.

What to See at Sensoji

Dominating the entrance to the temple is the kaminari-mon or "Thunder Gate." This imposing Buddhist structure features a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning. Within the precincts stand a stately five-story pagoda and the main hall, devoted to Kannon Bosatsu.

Within the temple is a quiet contemplative garden kept in the distinctive Japanese style. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Jinja.

Many tourists, both Japanese and foreign, visit Sensōji every year. Catering to the visiting crowds, the surrounding area has many traditional shops and eating places that feature traditional dishes. Nakamise-dori, the street leading from the Thunder Gate to the temple itself, is lined with small shops selling omiyage (souvenirs) ranging from fans, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), kimono and other robes, Buddhist scrolls, traditional sweets, to Godzilla toys, t-shirts, and cell-phone trinkets. These shops themselves are part of a living tradition of selling to pilgrims who walked to Sensōji.

Kaminarimon Gate

Sensoji Temple is approached from the massive, red Kaminarimon ("Thunder and Lightning Gate"), the famous outermost gate of Sensoji Temple, and the Asakusa district's most famous landmark. Kaminarimon dates from the 10th century, built about 300 years after the temple was established.

The size of the average Japanese house, Kaminarimon is almost as wide (11.4 m, 37 ft) as it is high (11.7 m, 38 ft).

Kaminarimon is most distinctive for the massive red chochin paper lantern hanging inside it.

In the gate's left alcove is a fearsome statue of the god of thunder and lightning, Raijin; on the right is his counterpart, the god of wind, Fujin: both Shinto rather than Buddhist deities, two of which can be found on the other side.

Kaminarimon has been rebuilt several times due to fire, the last rebuilding being in 1960.

History & Origin of Senso-ji

Early in the morning of March 18, 628, when the capital of Japan was Asuka (present-day Nara Prefecture), two fishermen, Hinokuma Hamanari and his brother Takenari, were fishing in the Sumida River. Suddenly sensing something, they pulled up their net to find a statue of Bodhisattva Kannon. When Haji no Nakatomo, village headman of Asakusa, heard about this, he immediately realized that the object was a statue of the important Buddhist deity Bodhisattva Kannon. Taking vows as a Buddhist priest and remaking his home into a temple, he spent the rest of his life in devotion to Bodhisattva Kannon.

In 645, renowned Buddhist priest Shokai Shonin built Kannondo Hall upon visiting the Asakusa district during his travels. Following a revelation he received in a dream, Shokai decided that the image should be hidden from human view, and this tradition has remained in place ever since.

Asakusa began as an obscure fishing village along an estuary of Tokyo Bay, part of the vast wilderness of the area known as Musashi. The district later thrived as people arrived in increasing numbers to worship. When Ennin (794-864), the highest-ranking priest of Enryaku-ji (head temple of the Tendai School of Buddhism) visited Senso-ji in the mid-ninth century, he created a statue identical to the hidden one that could be viewed and worshipped by the people.

During the Kamakura period (1192-1333), the shoguns, who held the true power in Japan during this time, demonstrated great devotion to Senso-ji. Gradually, other historically prominent figures including military commanders and the literati came to follow their example. Enjoying the protection of these illustrious individuals, the temple buildings were refined. During the Edo period (1603-1867), first Edo shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu deemed Senso-ji the temple where prayers for the aspirations of the shogunate would be offered. As a result the buildings were imbued with still greater dignity, and the temple complex flourished as the center of Edo (present-day Tokyo) culture.

Senso-ji is Tokyo's oldest temple. Known affectionately to people all over Japan as the temple of the Asakusa Kannon, it draws some 30 million visitors every year, remaining an important center of worship.

Kannon, Bodhisattva of Compassion

Amongst the many Buddhas, Bodhisattva Kannon is known as the most compassionate, relieving beings of their suffering and responding to prayers with great benevolence.

This Bodhisattva Kannon, the principle image of Senso-ji, has been an unparalleled source of benefits and miracles, saving and protecting countless people over the course of the 1,400 years since its appearance in the world.

The way of devotion to Bodhisattva Kannon can be described as emulating the compassionate mind of this bodhisattva in our day to day lives, treating everyone we encounter with kindness.

To pray at the Main Hall, place your hands together in the Buddhist prayer position and chant “Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu” (I place my trust in Bodhisattva Kannon).

Festivals & Events

Sensōji is the focus of Tokyo's largest and most popular matsuri (Shinto festival). The festival takes place over 3–4 days in late spring, and sees the surrounding streets closed to traffic from dawn until late evening.

Sensoji Access - How to get to Sensoji Temple

A visit to Sensoji Temple can be combined with a walk along the Sumida River to Sumida Koen, and a tour of the interesting shops and restaurants in the many arcades in Asakusa. Many backpackers choose to stay in the Asakusa district at one of several cheap guesthouses in the area. Smaller temples nearby include Banryu-ji and Tokyo Hongan-ji.

Access to Sensoji Temple is from any of the four stations that call themselves Asakusa Station: on the Tsukuba Express Line, the Tobu Skytree Line, the Toei Asakusa Line and the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.

Reviews by visitors

I visited on a Saturday and it was super crowded, but had a great time going to all the vendors that line the street leading to the temple. The temple itself is huge and beautiful, well-maintained and well-loved. People from all over can be seen praying and tossing coins and making wishes. It helps to do a little reading for background before you get there so you know what you are looking at.

~AMCTheJetSetter

It was very very busy when we visited but it added to the experience. The walk down past all the stalls was fun even though is was so congested. I loved all the statues, the huge bell, and all the side buildings as well as the main temple of course. We spent ages taking lots and lots of photos including plenty of all the women dressed in their beautiful kimonos.

~TheRelfster

Excellent temple from 7 century, the oldest in Tokyo, renovated in 1952. A must see in Tokyo. You shall need 2h. including transport as it is in Asakusa, a bid out of central Tokyo. We were at the entrance at around 9am. on Sunday at it was already pretty crowed. When we came out around 1h. later, it was impossible to walk across the souvenirs street prior the main entrance of the temple. Have a look to those shops, you will certainly find something to bring back home at a very competitive prices.. No need to follow main street, go to the paralel street, less crowed and interesting things to find as well. It is a pity we could not see the pagoda, under renovation.

~joanbabot

Please remember go visit the temple in the evening. It was a beautiful, quiet park around it.

I have experienced the "praying ceremony" in the early morning and it was a peaceful moment for me. I enjoyed this surprise and loved it.

~sindy_leimann

It was raining the day we went, but that meant that there wasn't a big crowed. Unfortunately, the main gate (the Thunder gate) was under repair, so we didn't get to see it. Other than that, a great place to visit.

~Kathleen N

Situated in asakusa. Just next to train station. Packed on weekends as early as 8am! You will see locals in kimonos and its a lovely sight! You will walk down the namikase street full of souvenior shops and alot of eateries in between the alleys. Everything about this area is lovely!

~macsimogong

The temple itself is very nice - lots of history and beautiful ceremony.

What I enjoyed was more than just the temple though - there is HEAPS off shopping nearby as you approach the temple. LOTS of photo opportunities and interesting shops and restaurants nearby. You can spend an entire day here very easily.

~Bundaberg_Rum

Very nice temple with lots of architectural features. On the day we visited we saw lots of young girls in kimonos. We were told that that's a common practice at this temple. Pretty grounds surrounding the temple. Much nicer (imho) than the Meiji Shrine, although they are both quite different. Lots of small shops along Nakamise street leading up to the temple.

~bobe2

Although this is a popular tourist destination, this does not detract from the fact that this Buddhist temple is the oldest in Tokyo, and a wonderful sight to see. The grounds include lovely gardens, koi ponds, a five storied pagoda and the adjacent Asakusa Shrine. The 200 meter Nakamise shopping street leading from the outer gate to the second gate has a history of several centuries.

~Travel_time321

Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa is known as Japan's oldest temple and is an amazing place to visit. There are large crowds during the days and weekends, and an even more massive crowd during Sanja Matsuri in May of each year. The beautiful grounds include other temples and shrines. The Nakamise shopping street and Dempoin Street are must-visits too! Food, clothes, souvenirs, jewelry, gifts can all be found here!

~Curt H

My wife and I visited this temple as one stop on a Hop on Hop off bus tour we took during our stay in Toyko. The temple was crowded because we were there on a weekend day and they had a special procession. The Asakusa Sagimai Parade has girls dressed like large egrets or storks and other people in costumes and a small "float" with musicians pulled by several men. Guess we just got lucky because it was quite interesting.

~niagarariver

This was one of my top destination must see's for Tokyo. Sadly, it was absolutely pouring with rain when we were there. That produced a mass of umbrella clad tourists jockeying for that photo with the V / peace sign!!! This is a truly magnificent ancient temple. At the entrance, just off the street, is the very grand Thunder Gate (Kaminarimon). This houses one of the main tour book Tokyo sights, the huge red and black paper lantern. This apparently signifies thunderclouds and lightning. Once through the gate and beyond the sea of umbrella's was Nakamise-dori, a corridor of covered stalls selling crafts and food. At the other end is the Treasure House Gate (Hozomon) and the entrance to main temple. To the left is a stunning five level pagoda. The rain diluted our experience but it was still a sight to behold.

~cfc

Too many tourists were there , the must go temple to visit. 

Everyone who was in Tokyo have to go as the symbol of Tokyo. Great for taking photo.
Got lots of shops for shopping and eating around.

You can walk around and take many pictures at the temple. I think the price of goods at the shops around was a bit too expensive coz it's in the tourists area.

~Sompan T

We are on a day long tour and stopped at the Senso-ji Temple. The temple is the oldest in Tokyo and presents a very good example of the architecture of its day. There is shopping with numerous stalls lined up the roads leading to the temple. Very nice.

~Kyle K

I first visited this temple at night and it was so pretty to see all the buildings lit up. I went back again during the day and it was full of people and there was a wonderful street leading up to the main temple that had many souvenir shops and street food shops. It was great to have a look at and walk around. Bought some nice dolls there and enjoyed the ice cream burger.

~Collingwood

It is easy to get here. You can just take the metro to Asakusa. The first structure you will see is the big Kaminarimon gate or thunder gate with the guardian statues. Then you walk through Nakamise -dori which is a pedestrian alley where you can get dolls, kimonos, hair combs, fans, etc. (most are not of the best quality and are mainly made to satisfy the tourist desire to get a Japanese souvenir). Then you go through the impressive Hozomon gate and you will find the incense burner where you should smoke the fumes to have good health. In front of it, you will see the main hall where you can see the kannon and many unique paintings of "angels" with lotto flowers. You have to see the hexagonal temple which is the oldest structure and only survivor of the original complex, the pagoda with the garden, and the awashima hall dedicated to a deity that protects women. Do not forget to touch the Nada Botokhesan Buddha as you will have good luck!

The temple is relatively new when compared with many other temples in Japan as the original complex was destroyed during the second world war. The new complex resembles the original architecture and style. It is very big and nice.

The entrance is free.

The temple is impressive. The daily rituals make the visit to the temple special.

~TravelerTrecker

Sensoji Temple is really, really big. The main temple itself is quite large, with lots of space for worshippers. There are various areas where one can participate in temple rituals – be sure to bring some coins as an offering as well as to buy incense and candles. 

The temple stamp stand is to the left of the temple. It costs 500¥ for the nicer stamp design, which I did opt for. There are also a lot of smaller worship areas dedicated to different smaller gods all around the temple as well as a pagoda. 

Definitely go either very early in the morning or the evening!

~Michelle T

You will walk past Nakamise Dori during your time here. Senso-ji is listed on almost all the prominent tourist websites & guides (for good reason). It's beautiful & a heck of a location for your travel selfies. I didn't step inside the temple due to the daunting crowds but I did walk around the area a fair bit. There are hidden gems in every lane near this temple & you could easily spend 2-3 hours here. Make sure to try the melon bread while you're here & the yummy mochi. This area can get rather crowded (at certain times) but while just loitering around - a part of you will simply love just how quaint & laid-back this whole area feels. I found a fantastic Sento called Jakotsuyu near the Senso-ji temple & was glad I chose to stay in Asakusa... !

~amanbhonsle

How to get here:

Therr are several lines connecting to asakusa but the nearest is the ginza line which is just a 5 min walk from the temple.

What to see; 

Especial novelty shops.. best to buy souvenirs. There are a lof of food establishment that offers authentic japanese food. Sushi restaurants to be exact. The dood ranges for the sushi and maki is around 125 yen to 500. Ramen is aroind 7t0 to 900 yen.

Over all this place is nice for tourist. You can experience japan and buy a lot of souvenirs blwhen you go to this place. If you also look at the infrastructure it has this old japan feel and look.

~joseph christina

we stayed in a hotel next to the temple so we had chances to see it in the early morning when the people just start to come in, during the day when there are LOTS of people, and at night when it was empty but lit and BEAUTIFUL.

~PattiS33

From Shinjuku we caught the Yanamote line to Ueno and transferred to the metro rail on the Ginza line to get to Asakusa. It was a Sunday afternoon and extremely busy. You could not see in front of you for people. It was interesting to see the incense burning and people waving it around themselves. It felt like I shouldn't have been at this shrine as it was not peaceful. Very busy and very noisy. I would have liked to have visited when there were less people so I could truly experience it.

But its worth visiting. As a bonus you get to go through Nakamise shopping street before you get to the Temple.

~RichardS069

A spectacular complex of temple buildings and associated smaller shrines. Enter by way of Kaminarimon (thunder gate) and stroll down the shopping street; it's full of souvenir and Japanese snack shops, as well as visitors and school groups. There are some good shopping and restaurant choices in the surrounding streets, too.

~Genjidog

We were to see many Temples during our visit to Japan and this was our first. It was very busy with people but everyone is polite with no pushing! Because all the culture was new to us we were fascinated by what we saw people doing. There was incense burning and visitors were wafting the smoke towards them and their children - for good health apparently. All the buildings are beautiful - such a contrast to the high rise buildings in Tokyo.

~Su3611

The temple was massive and had lots of tourists, and there is so much to enjoy about it. The temple had many fun rituals to do ( lighting candles, buying shrines, pulling fortunes,etc. ). I loved the fact how it could be so crowded and busy, yet serene and quiet. The visit toke me about 1 and a half hours.

~Kevin

We've seen a lot of temples and it was crowded here but hey we're in Tokyo, you just learn to share the space. It was good to take part in the rituals, lighting smoking incense sticks, and waving the smoke over your head, taking part in stick fortunes...and reading your fortune.

~CatSP79

We went to Tokyo and used trains to get from Shinjuku to the Sensoji temple. Very picturesque and walkable. You walk through an aisle of food vendors to get there. The delicious smell as you start walking are these waffle like delicacies filled with red bean paste - sweet, warm, and delicious! The photo shows the mini waffles that are in many creative shapes including chickens and beehives. Be careful not to eat while you walk though- it's uncouth. There's an eating area to the right of the temple where you can sit and eat, with bathrooms behind.

~SPtravels

Read more Tokyo travel guide at here.