My Trip to Japan – Part 7 – Asakusa
We got up Monday morning, and headed back toward Tokyo from Niigata. This would be the only day without a scheduled baseball game, so it was essentially a “free day” for everyone. Some went to Sumo, some went sightseeing around Tokyo. I decided I would visit Sensoji in Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo.
Sensoji is Tokyo’s oldest temple. The first temple was built on the site in 645. The current temple was built with donations from the public after bombing raids destroyed the site in 1945. There were a ton of people there, even on a Monday afternoon. The first thing you see is the outer gate, Kaminarimon (“Thunder Gate”) with it’s huge lantern in the center and statues on each side.
Between the outer and inner gates runs Nakamise-dori, the famous shopping street. There are a ton of little shops along this street selling everything from toys to Japanese snacks to custom made kimonos. It’s a good place to pick up souvenirs for the folks back home (and I came back on my last morning in Japan to do that.)
After passing through Nakamise-dori, you come to the inner gate, Hozomon (“Treasure House Gate”). The Hozomon features a large Chochin in the center, flanked by two Toro each weighing 1000kg. The upper floor houses Senso-ji’s treasured sutras.
Between the Hozomon and the Main Hall, you could get your fortune or Omikuji. This guy has pictures and a great explanation of the process. (Another one is here toward the bottom of the post.) I got a “bad fortune,” so my paper got left there. Fortunately, I was reassured by the sign that said by tenaciously doing my best, I could carve out my own fortune.
That night, some of the group went to dinner at a restaurant in the neighborhood around the hotel. It was a nice chance to talk and hear stories from everyone. Tomorrow, I venture out to Akihabara and a game at the Seibu Dome.