The Wonders of Asakusa

A visit to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a ‘selfie’ underneath the lantern in the Sensō-ji temple, in Asakusa. But, there is a whole history around this vibrant Buddhist temple and tourist hot spot that you may know nothing about, here are 5 facts to keep you interested…

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The Sensō-ji temple is one of the oldest in all of Japan, it was built in the year 645, although most of the temple has now been reconstructed after the bombings during the Second World War.

As with all very old and traditional buildings there is always a myth or legend surrounding it and Sensō-ji temple is no different. It is said that in the year 628, while two brothers were idly splashing around in the Sumida River they came across the statue of Kannon, the Goddess of mercy. However when they tried to return the statue to the river it wouldn’t leave them alone and kept coming back. Consequently, Sensō-ji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon.

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I’m sure you’ve seen that selfie from everyone who has been to Japan. You know the one, with people smiling and waving underneath the giant lantern, well that is the entrance to Sensō-ji, known as the Kaminarimon entrance and has become as a symbol of Asakusa and even the whole of Tokyo.

If you’re very bored of walking then consider cruising the streets of Asakusa in style, with a native Japanese person pulling you around on your very own rickshaw (the Japanese translation from jinrickshaw literally means “man powered vehicle.”) A 30-minute tour for two people costs around 9000yen. Shorter and longer courses are also available.

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The journey from Narita Airport normally takes 80 minutes and costs 1100 yen. Take the Keisei Skyliner from Narita Airport to Ueno Station (45 minutes, 2470 yen) and transfer to the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line to get to Asakusa Station (5 minutes, 170 yen). There are connections every 20-40 minutes.

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