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Sensou-ji Temple / Asakusa Tokyo

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[Senso-ji Temple(AAsakusa Kannon Temple)]

History and Mission of Senso-ji Temple
In 628, Japan’s capital was at Asuka(present-day Nara Prefecture) and what would become Tokyo was still mostly uninhabited grasslands.
Tow fishermen , Hinokuma Hamanoari and his brother Takenari, were on the Sumida River one day when they heard a command from the heavens to cast their net.
When they brought the net up, they saw that they had caught a golden statue of Bodhisattva Kannon.
Hearing of this from the Hinokuma brothers, village headman Haji Nakatomo decided that he would become a devout believer in Bodhisattva Kannon.
He took vows as a Buddhist priest, remade his home into a temple and spent the rest of his life practicing Buddhism.
This episode marks the birth of Tokyo’s oldest temple and the start of Senso-ji’s history.
In 645, the renowned Buddhist priest Shokai visited Asakusa and built a hall for the worship of Budhisattva Kannon; that makes him the actual founder of Senso-ji.
After having a mysterious dream one night, Shokai decided that Bodhisattva Kannon should be hidden from human view, and it has remained so ever since.
Word of blessings bestowed by Bodhisattva Kannon spread far and wide, and many people who had heard of this came to worship at Senso-ji from all over Japan.
As a result, Asakusa flourished and grew into a large district.
In the mid-ninth century, Ennin(794-864), the highest-ranking priest of Enryaku-ji, the head temple of the Tendai School of Buddhism, visited Senso-ji Temple, created a statue of Bodhisattva Kannon identical to the hidden one and called its spirit into the new statue.
Senso-ji Temple, thus further developed by Ennin, attracted devout faithful not only among commoners but also famous samurai and persons of culture.
Designated a sacred site of prayer for the shogunate by shogun Tokgawa Ieyasu(1543-1616), founder of the Edo shogunate, Senso-ji reached a peak of prosperity.
Over the intervening centuries until today, Senso-ji Temple has remained a center of culture and worship in Tokyo.
It continues to be very influential in people’s lives, and with millions of people visiting it every year, it is one of Japan’s most familiar temples.
Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa are intimately linked.
The two names are written using the same Chinese characters(浅草) but pronounced differently “senso” being the Chinese pronunciation and “asakusa” the native Japanese pronunciation.

[About Bodhisattva Kannon]

Over the years, Buddhism, which originated in the fifth century BCE, diverged into two main branches:Hiinayaana(today called Theravaada) which holds that adherents should faith fully follow the teachings of founder Buddha Shakyamuni to reach enlightenment themselves, and Mahaayaana, which teaches that the faithful should not only seek their own enlightenment but also help the suffering.
Mahaayaana Buddhism spread from India to China and Korea and eventually to Japan.
In that process, according to various interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings, Various figures of worship emerged, such as Buddhas, who had already achieved enlightenment, Bodhisattvas, who were the people ‘s saviors as they continued religious practice in order to attain enlightenment and become Buddhas, and so on.
Believers in Buddhism gave these figures concrete forms, creating sculptures of them which they worshipped.
Bodhisattva Kannon is one among many Bodhisattvas, and since early times has bee widely worshipped by Japanese in particular.
Bodhisattva Kannon is also the most merciful of the Bodhisattvas, sent to relieve human misery on earth.
Many Japanese believe that their hopes and pleas will reach this deity.
In particular, the Bodhisattva Kannon worshipped at Senso-ji Temple has been an unparalleled source of benefits and miracles over the centuries, and has saved and protected countless people since its appearance in this world.
Faith in the Bodhisattva Kannon, which has supported Senso-ji Temple and drawn many people to this temple, consists of opening one’s heart and living by the merciful spirit of Bodhisattva Kannon and at the same time showing mercy to others in daily life.
We hope that visitors to Senso-ji Temple will join their hands in prayer, receive the merciful spirit of the Bodhisattva Kannon into their hearts and pray that they can bestow that mercy upon others.


Annual Events of Asakusa 

January New Year’s PilgrimageDaikon(Radish)Festival Senso-ji TempleMatsuchiyama Shoden
February Setsubun(Bean Scattering Ceremony)/Fukujin-no-Mai DanceHari-Kuyo(Needles Memorial Service) Senso-ji TempleAwashimado
March Edo Nagashi-Bina(Doll-floationg Ceremony)Kinryu-no-Mai(Golden Dragon Dance)Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival Sumida River Azuma-BashiSenso-ji TempleSumida Park
April Asakusa Yabusame(Horseback Archery)Waseda univ. vs Keio univ. RegattaShirasagi-no-Mai(White Heron Dance)Kong-Kong Shoes Fair

“Crying Sumo” Tournament

Sumida ParkSumida RiverSenso-ji TempleTamahimeiari Shrine

Senso-ji Temple

May Takara-no-maiSanja FestivalFiremen Memorial Service of Edo Era(Yayoi Festival)Ofujisan Potplant Market Senso-ji TempleAsakusa ShrineSenso-ji TempleSengen Shrine
June Torikoe Night FestivalOfujisan Potplant Market Torikoe ShrineSengen Shrine
July Shitamachi Tanabata FestivalGround Cherry FairSumida River Fireworks Display Kappabashi hon-doriSenso-ji TempleSumida River
August Taito”Firewood Noh”DanceAsakusa Samba Carnival Senso-ji TempleUmamichi-dori to Kaminarimon-dori
September Matsuchiyama Shoden Temple Festival Matsuchiyama Shoden
October Asakusa Chrysanthemum ExhibitionChrysanthemum Memorial Service and Golden Dragon Dance Senso-ji TempleSenso-ji Temple
November Tokyo Period FestivalShirasagi-no-Mai(White Heron Dance)Tori-no-Ichi(Bamboo Rake Fair)Shoes Fair Umamichi-dori to Kaminarimon-doriSenso-ji TempleOtori ShrineTamahimeinari Shrine
December Hana-Kawado Extravagant Shoes FairHagoita Battledore FairNew Year’s Bell Ringing Hana-Kawado ParkSenso-ji TempleBenten-do


Kaminarimon Gate Sanja-Matsuri / Asakusa Tokyo

Sensou-ji Temple / Asakusa Tokyo (Night)


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