Asakusa Scam Warning
As Asakusa is a major tourist hotspot, it does attract some scammers targeting tourists. In particular, be wary of scammers dressing in temple robes and offering charms or bracelets.
Updated 29 February 2020
About Sensoji Temple
Sensoji, also known as Asakusa Temple, was built in 645 making it the oldest temple in Tokyo. It’s also the most popular temple in Japan, receiving over 30 million visitors annually.
Sensoji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple is a large Buddhist temple, and the oldest temple in Tokyo. Although the temple was originally built in 645, many of the buildings were destroyed during World War II and have since been rebuilt.
It is certainly the most popular temple in Japan, attracting over 30 million visitors per year both domestic and international. In fact, this makes Sensoji the single most visited spiritual site in the world.
It’s easy to understand Sensoji’s popularity - easily accessible from central Tokyo, the five-storied pagoda, imposing main hall, and trails of incense transport you from modern Tokyo back to the ancient city.
The temple was originally founded in 628. The legend goes that two brothers fished a statue of Kannon - the goddess of mercy and compassion - from the nearby Sumida River. A wealthy landlord recognised the significance of this and remodelled his own house into a small temple so others could worship the goddess. These three men are now worshiped in their own right at the nearby Asakusa Shrine.
The temple grounds include the large main hall, plus a five-storied pagoda and gardens. The approach to the temple is made through two large gates - Kaminarimon Thunder Gate, originally built in 941; and Hozomon, originally built in 942.
The street between the two gates is known as Nakamise Dori Shopping Street and is lined with small stores selling a wide variety of souvenirs.