Monday, January 28, 2013

Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, Part II

Here is the second of three posts of my picture collection from Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan.  These pictures here are still from the grounds of Sensō-ji temple.

This five-story pagoda was built in 942!

Unfortunately, with no guide and no informational plaques, I had no ideas what I was taking pictures of.

These are ema  絵馬.  Wishes are written on these wooden plaques and left in hopes of fulfillment.  Many of the wishes are usually for good health.  I know in Korea, a lot of the older Buddhists would pray for their children and grandchildren to get good grades in school.
Beneath the ema are omijuki.  They are fortune telling strips.  They can be purchased at the shrine and, at this temple, are tied to a metal rack.  If the fortune tells of coming bad luck, the hope is that the bad luck will wait by the rack instead of coming to the fortune receiver.  And if you tie a good luck fortune to the line, the idea is that by waiting on the line, the good luck will become more potent.

An information booth that was closed for the day

I know this one!  (Thank you, internet.)  This is a torii (鳥居).  They are used to mark an entrance to a sacred place.

Holy water from the fountain is used for purification.  Worshipers will wash their mouths out with the water.

Another torii
The rope across the lower beam is called shimenawa.  It uses braided rice straw rope and those zig-zag pieces of paper called shide.  They are used for blessing, purification, and to ward off evil spirits.

The main hall of the temple

Another fountain of purifying water
This one is almost directly in front of the temple's main hall.  The water comes out of dragon statues.  Dragons are cool.

And that is my tour of the Sensō-ji temple.  I learned everything I typed about it just now with help from the internet.
I really want to go back to this place, to any place in Japan really, and go with someone who knows what we're looking at.  I missed out on so many things, and while I loved taking in the beautiful sights, I wish I could have learned along the way.


  1. Looks very beautiful. I like how Asian architecture uses colors and shapes that I'd never think of putting together and yet somehow it works really well.

  2. Agreed. I got to see more of this architecture in Tokyo than I did in Seoul, and even though I'd lived in Seoul for 16 months, what I saw in Tokyo looked so Different, Interesting, and just plain cool.


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